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Exercising through pregnancy

Pregnancy is a new phase in life. You must be already finding many differences in yourself both physically and emotionally. But trust me you are not the only one. It is state of mixed emotions when sometimes you love being yourself and some other time you wonder if this is real you. Your physical levels also vary to great extent either supercharged or very low. Now here exercises have a great role to play, which improves your physical and mental state as well.    
For years women were urged to cut down on or even avoid exercise during pregnancy. Doctors feared of unknown risk which may arise from exercises. Fortunately, the tide has turned.
 Dr. Clapp and Dr. Nobel in 1980’s did a study on effects of exercises in pregnancy, giving very positive results. American college of obstetrics and gynecology also after several studies now recommends exercises in pregnancy.So under doctor’s supervision all moms to be can start working out.
There are many benefits of exercises to you and to your baby. At times when you wonder if this strange body can possibly be yours, exercise can increase your sense of control and boost your energy level. It makes you feel better by releasing endorphins (natural chemicals in brain). This makes you more confident about yourself to take up a new responsibility and change in life.
Regular exercise relieves backaches and improves your posture by toning muscles in your back, buttocks, and thighs. Exercises also eases the common ailments like cramps, swollen feet, heel pain, etc. It helps to prevent wear and tear on your joints (which become loosened during pregnancy) by activating the lubricating fluid in your joints.
Exercises help you sleep better by relieving the stress and anxiety.
Regular exercises for minimum 10-15 minutes helps to reduce constipation by accelerating movement in your intestine. This will take of your nausea and reduced hunger.
The very important role of exercises in delivery is, it prepares you and your body for birth - Strong muscles and a fit heart can greatly ease labor. The labor time may be shortened to 4 hours or less. Gaining control over your breathing can help you manage pain. And in the event of a lengthy labor, increased endurance can be a real help. This may avoid need to go for Caesarian section due to mothers exhaustion.
You can avoid unnecessary excessive fat deposition with exercises. So, you can also get back to your pre-pregnant weight, lose fat and improve fitness early after delivery.
 Exercise improves baby’s ability to fight with stress from outside atmosphere after delivery.  It also improves oxygen and glucose supply to the baby making it healthier.
The kind of exercises which need to be done depends on what interests you and what your doctor advises. Brisk walking, indoor cycling, swimming, light aerobic dancing are few of the cardio exercise options to you. Many experts recommend walking. As it's easy to vary the pace and  distance and the only requirement is good pair of shoes. If you're just starting, begin with a moderate pace for 15-20 minutes, 3 days a week. Add a couple of minutes every week. This improves stamina to do more work by increasing blood circulation and heart function.
Combine these cardio exercises with body toning work outs. Toning will include exercises to strengthen abs, back, thighs and also chest and arms. This will help you avoid the agony of joint pains and to maintain good posture.
Stretching is highly recommended in pregnancy. It is relaxing and will take care of muscles tightness. But when doing stretches, be careful not to overstretch.
The famous exercises Kegel’s exercises (ref: internet) are meant to develop strength in pelvic floor muscles, the muscles which support womb, bladder and bowel. Developing good strength in these muscles improves ability to control and relax these muscles better this prepares you for labor and delivery. Strengthening   also increases urinary control.
Toning, stretching and Kegel’s are preferably done daily. 
Yoga in pregnancy is great for relaxation and improving breathing control.  
Whatever type of exercise you decide on, listen to your body's warnings. Your energy level may also vary greatly from day to day. If your body says, "Stop!" – stop. Don’t overexert yourself too much if you feel breathless, dizzy, any kind of pain or have difficulty in continuing the exercise.
Many of the exercises are safe in pregnancy though it is best to avoid exercises which require holding your breath. Jarring movements, jumping, hopping, skipping or running is absolute ‘Don’t’. It is best to avoid deep knee bends, full sit ups and double leg raises.   Exercises that require lying on your back or right side for more than three minutes should be done with care.
Here you are ladies; pregnancy is time to be cherished. So eat healthy, keep moving and stay healthy! 


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