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Antenatal exercises

What are Antenatal Exercises?

These exercises are performed during the pregnancy period. The easier it is to adapt to the changing shape and weight gain if the exercises are more active & fit for pregnancy. It also helps to cope with labour and get back into shape after the delivery.

 The normal physical activities or exercises like sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back are the best to maintain fitness for as long as it is comfortable. Exercise is not dangerous for the baby and moreover, active women experience fewer problems in later pregnancy and labour.

How to Begin?

If you weren't active before pregnancy, do not take up strenuous exercise immediately. It is always better to start with aerobic exercises starting with 15 minutes 3 times a week, which can be gradually increased to 30 minutes 4 times a week. Exercise must not be strenuous to be beneficial.

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
  • Consult with doctor before joining any classes & make sure the trainer is qualified.
  • Swimming is a good option.
  • Exercises that has risk of falling should be avoided

 The Exercises

Abdominal-Strengthening Exercises

As the baby gains weight, the hollow in the lower back increases and this can result in backache. These exercises help in strengthening stomach (abdominal) muscles and gives relief to the backache.

Go on all fours with knees and palms on the floor and abdominals lifted to keep back straight, in a box position.

  • Pull in the stomach muscles and raise the back up towards the ceiling, curling the trunk and allowing the head to relax gently forward. Make sure not to let the elbows lock.
  • Hold in breath for a few seconds and slowly return to the box position.
  • Return the back to a straight/neutral position
  • Do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times.

Pelvic Tilt Exercises

Stand straight with shoulders and bottom against a wall

Pull the belly button towards the spine, so that the back flattens against the wall. Hold for 4 seconds and then release.

Repeat up to 10 times

Pelvic Floor Exercises

This helps to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, patient might urinate when he/she coughs, sneezes or strains. This is commonly seen during and post pregnancy. This can be stopped by strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. All pregnant women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises, even if not suffering from stress incontinence. 

  • Hold anus tight as if trying to prevent a bowel movement, at the same time, draw in the vagina & urethra as if like stopping the flow of urine.
  • Do the above step quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles
  • Then do it slowly, holding the contractions to a count of 10 for as long as possible, before relaxing slowly.
  • Do these repetitions at least 3 times a day.

 Deep Breathing & Foot And Ankle Exercises

Exercises and relaxation are essential to maintain a healthy mind and body healthy. Gentle exercises help to improve the circulation during pregnancy. Poor circulation can lead to varicose veins, Vulval Veins and muscle cramps.

 Foot And Ankle Exercises

  • Keep the knees relaxed
  • Bend and stretch ankles vigorously up and down for 30 seconds.
  • Circle both feet 10 times in each direction.
  • Repeat both of these exercises 10 times a day. They will help to reduce swollen ankles and
  • Varicose veins.

Exercises To Prevent Backache Bad Posture

The main cause for backache during pregnancy is the overstretched tummy muscles & the weight of the baby. The points to be taken care for good posture are:

  • Stand tall
  • Look forward
  • Bottom pulled inwards
  • Tummy in always
  • Knees relaxed
  • Pelvic floor up


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