3 exercises to boost immunity during pregnancy

Updated on: 29 April 2022, 21:17 pm IST

The importance of exercises during pregnancy should not be underestimated as they have a range of benefits.

Hemavathy D.M
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pregnancy exercises
Be up and about during your pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Prenatal exercises are well-known to have their set of benefits for women in all trimesters during pregnancy. Regular exercising creates a healthy environment and a positive impact for the mother-to-be. Research has shown that moderate exercise three to four times a week, for a duration of 30 to 45 minutes, significantly improves different functions of the body. And so, you must indulge in exercises during pregnancy.

Some benefits of exercises during pregnancy are:

* Improves blood circulation
* Increases lung vital capacity
* Reduces risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol
* Regulates of digestive function
* Reduces insomnia
* Improves sleep pattern and sleep quality
* Reduces pain
* Increase flexibility and strength
* Improves mental health and physical well-being

Besides these benefits of exercising during pregnancy, it helps in improving our immune response to various infections.

Exercise increases blood and lymph flow as the muscles works. It also increases the circulation of immune cells, making them circulate at a higher rate and at higher numbers. That is how it can improve our immune response, lower illness risk and reduce inflammation.

exercises during pregnancy
Even a basic walk for around 30-45 minutes can help. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3 exercises during pregnancy for better immunity

1. Relaxation and flexibility exercises

Breathing exercises, meditation, stretching exercises, yoga are great during this time. Deep breathing exercises and flexibility exercises lower blood pressure, clear mucus from respiratory tract, improve posture, reduce stress, reduce fatigue and improve overall health.

How to do it:
Diaphragmatic breathing helps to expand the lungs and increases the oxygen absorption.

* It can be done in sitting or supine position
* Place one hand on your upper chest other hand just below the rib cage
* Breathe in slowly through your nose so the tummy moves out
* Exhale slowly through the mouth

breathing exercises during pregnancy
Breathing right is important for your well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Aerobic exercise or cardio exercises

These use oxygen which helps to reduce weight, and also strengthen our heart by improving cardiovascular function, which in turn increases endurance. Aerobic exercise can also lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugars.

Brisk walking activates immune cells to perform effectively and the antibodies circulate more rapidly. Walking is simple, easy and one of the best exercise during pregnancy.

Start with slow walk 10 minutes warming up your muscles, prepare your body for brisk walk for 15 to 30 minutes and at the end of your walk, cool down by slow walking for 10 minutes. Aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling, dancing, gardening are examples for moderate aerobic activities, and are recommended for 3-5 days a week.

importance of exercise during pregnancy
Not exercising enough and right could lead to aches and pains. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Strengthening exercise and resistance exercises

These exercises during pregnancy help to tone and strengthen muscles. Weight-bearing exercises or any resistance exercises can be done two days per week at low-to-moderate levels of intensity. Most of the weight-bearing exercises involve major muscle groups such as arms, legs, abdomen, chest, back. These exercises can increase levels of good cholesterol, reduce insomnia and push is to get adequate amount of sleep every day.

Examples include weight-lifting, using resistance bands and body weight exercises such as standing push-ups, sit-ups and squatting. However, it is important to take all precautions before planning resistance exercises during pregnancy and discuss with your health care professional.

Many of us start with a lot of enthusiasm which lasts for a few days. But sustaining the exercise program is the most important to make the most of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy.

Try to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. But do not feel guilty if you miss a session or do less than you expected to do. Simple physical activities such as walking to a shop, taking stairs and gardening are counted to the exercise activity.

To know more on fitness and pregnancy, check out this Health Shots interview with fitness expert Zoe Modgill!

Planning a program for exercises during pregnancy

Before starting any exercise, it’s important to discuss with your primary consultant and physiotherapist. The present medical conditions help to design the exercise program as it differs according to each individual’s health conditions and fitness level.

* Start by setting small goals, which will lead to larger goals.
* Start slow and steady. Do not overdo exercising during pregnancy. Listen to your body and mind to know your limit.
* Stay hydrated, and drink adequate amount of water before and after workout. 4. Stop when you are uncomfortable or sick.
* Choose the exercises or physical activity that makes you happy and keep you motivated.

Hemavathy D.M Hemavathy D.M

Hemavathy D.M Senior Physiotherapist Cloudnine Hospitals-Electronic city Bengaluru

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