How Much Physical Activity Is Ideal For Pregnant Women

Exercising during pregnancy might sound unusual, but it is a great way to stay healthy. Learn more about the benefits of physical activity for pregnant women here.

28 Mar 2022

Well, congratulations! You are already experiencing the excitement of being an expectant mother—there is so much to do and so much to look forward to. The first step in planning for your baby’s arrival is to ensure that you are getting the right amount of physical activity. Why? Experts agree that women who are active during pregnancy have better digestion, more energy, less back pain and smoother recovery post birth. The best part is that you don’t need to get on an elaborate workout plan, an easy walk will do.


According to a study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, engaging in physical activity can keep women active and help them deal with the stress of pregnancy. The same study also concludes that prenatal workout effectively reduces risks of gestational diabetes, weight gain, varicose veins, stress, anxiety, depression, and delivery complications as well.


Related story: Planning A Pregnancy? Things To Know Before You Conceive


Although, it is difficult to escape physical stress during pregnancy. However, taking time out for your physical fitness is a small step towards a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery. However, it is important to be careful when exercising during pregnancy.


Related story: Prenatal Yoga Flow For The Second And Third Trimester


Before initiating any exercise program during pregnancy, always take advice from your obstetrician-gynaecologist in your early prenatal period. The most important thing is that you should have a healthy pregnancy. After a thorough checkup, your doctor will be able to guide you on how to proceed with a pregnancy workout plan.


Related story: Pregnancy, Post-Partum, Depression, And Parenting


How can exercise benefit pregnant women?

There are several reasons why pregnant women are encouraged to keep physically active. According to a 2011 research published in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, daily exercises for 30 minutes can eliminate back pain and constipation, strengthen the heart, promote weight gain during pregnancy, and weight loss post-delivery. Exercising during pregnancy improves physical fitness, mood, and blood pressure. The body also adapts to the additional weight of the growing foetus by strengthening the muscles and ligaments that support the uterus and pelvis.


What exercises are considered safe for pregnant women?

Experts recommend moderate exercise during pregnancy. It is any range of activities that require you to breathe harder than normal but not so hard that you can't carry on a conversation. These activities include walking, swimming, stationary cycling and prenatal yoga. A study in the Journal of Physical Activity And Health in 2011 showed low to moderate strength training exercises to help increase lower back pain endurance in pregnant ladies by 14 per cent.


Which exercises should pregnant women avoid?

Avoid high-intensity contact sports like basketball, boxing, hockey, and soccer. These workouts increase the chances of getting abdominal injuries. Also avoid any physical activity that includes transition of altitudes as it poses risk of motion or height sickness such as skydiving, off-road cycling, and gymnastics.


Caution: Stop exercising immediately and consult an ob-gyn when you experience discharge or bleeding from the vagina, uterus contractions, headache, chest pain, dizziness, or swelling in limbs.




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