Hear it from an ob-gyn: The dos and don’ts of exercising during pregnancy

Updated on:7 December 2019, 11:59am IST
Do you know pelvic exercises in the ninth month of your pregnancy can help during labor? Read on to know more about workout out during pregnancy.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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You heard it right! Yoga and working out during pregnancy can reduce your labor pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As soon as you spill the beans about your pregnancy, you get bombarded with advice–especially when it comes to fitness. You might be told things like: 

“Running during pregnancy can harm your pelvis beta!”

“You know what my aunt says? She says exercising during pregnancy can be harmful for the baby.”

You get the drift right? But if you talk to the experts, they have a different tale to tell.

To understand the science behind these controversies we had a word with Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar Pillai, who is a consultant obstetrics gynaecologist at Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central. And this is what she has to say:

It is safe to work out at low intensity during pregnancy if there are no complications like low lying placenta, high BP or threatened preterm labor and so on.

In fact, exercising throughout your pregnancy doesn’t seem to be a problem at all–until and unless your doctor has advised you not to.

Take it one trimester at a time
Every trimester is different and comes with its own complications. Therefore, the intensity and the pattern of working out, diet, medicines and so on take a different course.

Hence, Dr Pillai suggest this range of exercises that you can opt for in each trimester–of course with proper precaution.

Take it light in your first trimester
In your first trimester light exercises like morning or evening walks and pranayam are highly recommended. It will keep you active and help you mastering the art of breathing will help you during labor.

Keep yoga for the second trimester
Garbhsanskaar and light yoga stretching is something that you can reserve for your second trimester. Another exercise to indulge in is swimming. It will help in reducing body and back aches that give you a hard time during pregnancy.

yoga during pregnancy
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Stick to pelvic floor exercises in the third semester
Squats, lunges, cat-camel pose, and other recommended pelvic floor exercises are helpful for the third trimester. You know why? It’s because they will prep you for the D day. The posture during these exercises strengthens your muscles so you won’t get drained out during the delivery process.

The doctor suggests that working out during pregnancy can keep gestational diabetes away. Apart from that it also relieves stress and develops your stamina that is needed at the time of delivery.

In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most–if not all the days of the week.

But trying new and strenuous activities is a big no. And even if you have been an athlete in the past, contact sports like football, volleyball and such are still a no-no.

Exercising during pregnancy is also good for your baby
Dr Pillai suggests that overweight and obese women are more likely to have babies with a large infant birth weight–in short obesity. Therefore, working out during pregnancy might elicit a “protective” effect for the baby which has been identified as large for gestational age (LGA).

Exercise is good, but here are a few precautions to follow
Even though light exercises are highly recommended, here are few things Dr Pillai wants you to keep under consideration.

If you have a low-lying placenta or short cervical length then heavy exercise is out of the question. It can cause bleeding, and in extreme cases can result into a miscarriage.

Avoiding aerobics is another smart move to make, especially when you have heart disease, lung disease, incompetent cervix, risk of premature labor, bleeding in your second or third trimester, placenta previa or ruptured membranes.

In the end, remember to consult with your doctor before starting any workout schedule and enjoy this time of your life. 

Also read: My #momsays eat panjeeri post pregnancy for lactation and strength

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.