An expecting mother has a lot to do throughout her pregnancy. She has to ensure that she follows a healthy diet that supplies both her and the baby with ample nutrition and energy, she has to go in for scheduled check-ups with the obstetrician to see that her baby is developing properly and she has to get her entire life and home ready for the arrival of her little bundle of joy. In the midst of all these, however, a pregnant woman must also make time to exercise every day.
Exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, it actually comes highly recommended by doctors all over the world. In fact, the only times when it’s not recommended is when it becomes too uncomfortable late in the third trimester, or if you have any underlying health issues that make exercising dangerous for the baby’s well-being or yours. But otherwise, exercising during pregnancy is known to benefit both the mother and the baby in the long term.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
A recent study published in the journal Nature Metabolism indicates that maternal exercise before and during pregnancy can lead to the increased production of a compound, called oligosaccharide 3’-sialyllactose, in breast milk. Consuming sufficient amounts of this compound through breast milk reduces the baby’s risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you do at least 30-minutes’ worth of exercise every day. If that is not possible, then get at least 20 minutes of exercise, three-four days in a week, to reap the following benefits.
1. Alleviate symptoms: Adequate exercise can help you relieve some of the symptoms of pregnancy like back pain, bloating, water retention, and bloating.
2. Improve strength: You’re going to be carrying the extra weight of the baby for nine long months, and to do that properly, you’ll need muscle tone, strength and endurance. Exercising regularly can help with that.
3. Helps sleep: A good night’s sleep is difficult to get as your pregnancy progresses and the baby continues to grow in the womb. Exercise can help you sleep better.
4. Boost the mood: Mood swings are a natural part of pregnancy due to the increased levels of female hormones and blood volume in the body. Exercising can release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the body, which can help you keep those mood swings in check and feel better.
5. Keeps diseases at bay: Pregnant women can develop gestational diabetes and hypertension, both of which can be kept in check through regular exercise.
6. Helps through labour: Exercising regularly will keep you fighting fit, which in turn can help ease the process of labour when your time comes. Delivering a baby can be exhausting, but if you have enough stamina, it can be exhilarating as well.
7. Aids weight loss: Most new moms are worried about losing the weight they put on during pregnancy as soon as possible after giving birth. Post-pregnancy weight loss is definitely easier for women who were active throughout their pregnancy.
A word of caution
Now, before you leap up to start any exercise, you should know that some exercises are not recommended during pregnancy. This includes those that increase the chances of falling, contact sports, bouncing, jumping, lifting excess weight and strenuous exercise regimens. Walking, Kegel exercises, swimming, yoga, dance, aerobics and bicycling are beneficial forms of exercise during pregnancy – so, it’s best to stick to these after consulting your doctor.
For more information, read our article on Exercise during pregnancy.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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