Thursday, April 16, 2015

Exercise and pregnancy

December 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

It is suggested to pregnant women never to take any medication without consulting a doctor first.  Innocuous drugs and even natural dietary supplements can affect the development of the baby. Some substances that seem quite harmless can be dangerous to the fetus. The same is true for exercise.

Prescribing exercises for pregnant women should be done with the same scientific and accurate approach; and with caution. Of course it is essential for the future mother to exercise lightly and keep moving – out of the question to just stay put for 9 months – but the type of exercises, their intensity, frequency and duration, should be adapted to the pregnant woman’s condition.  Every woman is unique; what’s reasonable for one can harmful for another. Over exerting and strenuous exercise can be dangerous for pregnant women.

However, if the exercise is performed in a normal and reasonable fashion it will not have negative effects on the pregnancy.  Instead keeping a healthy body will be a plus when facing childbirth. To avoid complications during delivery quality prenatal care is paramount. Prenatal classes prepare women for childbirth by working out certain muscles and breathing mode that will be needed during delivery.

The physical condition of the pregnant woman changes along with the development of the baby she carries.  Her doctor is therefore in the best position to determine the most adequate health care and the type of exercise that she should do or avoid.  As each pregnancy is unique it is wiser indeed to consult your doctor before starting any physical training.  All along the pregnancy your doctor monitored physical factors such as blood pressure, weight, and general health; it makes him/her the most reliable source of advices.

It is important for pregnant women to maintain an active lifestyle, not only her benefits but for the baby’s as well.  Appropriate physical exercise combined with a proper diet are keys to the good health of mother and child.

Here are some good reasons for the mother to exercise:

Resisting Fatigue: When the muscles are inactive they get tired and lose strength. To perform simple tasks such as climbing stairs, shoveling snow, carrying small loads, our muscles must keep on regular activity.  Tired muscles are less effective. As the pregnant woman is expected to gain weight, muscles will have to work harder. During childbirth, more muscles will be called on. For an easier pregnancy and childbirth, the muscles must be in shape to be up to the task when the time comes.  For pregnant women, tired muscles can lead to leg cramps, and sore muscles.

Lower back pain: whether you’re sitting or standing, your muscles work. Our position can impose added strain on some muscles.  The muscles of the lower back, for example, can be exhausted by merely the effort of keeping a certain position.  It gets worse when a woman is pregnant, because sometimes it hard to find a comfortable position and we rely on muscles we don’t normally use.   With appropriate exercise the future mother can correct this problem by developing the muscles that she needs.

Increase the oxygen: exercise helps the production of glycogen, a substance produced by the body from complex carbohydrates. It is stored in the muscles and liver. The supply of glycogen in the muscles determines the duration of the activity because exercise depletes glycogen in the muscles, leading to tiredness. When glycogen is depleted by strenuous activity, it is replaced by an even greater amount (with good food), because the body recognizes the need for increased fuel intake. Also, oxygenation is essential for the conversion of glycogen into energy. In fact the more you exercise, the more your muscles are prepared to work even harder while our body is better oxygenated. The ideal condition during delivery!

These are just some of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, moderate exercise is very good for pregnant women. We are not talking about running a marathon but to exercise moderately in accordance with the condition of pregnant women. The important thing to remember is that before starting any exercise program, whether you are pregnant or not, it is best to talk to your doctor. Because in fact it is our doctor who knows us best!

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