Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 20

Holistic Health

You should exercise even when you ’ re pregnant

See a doctor to discuss how to reap the benefits of exercise

Exercise on a regular basis is a powerful contributor to human health and can be done safely even during pregnancy , thus getting your body fit for giving birth and making it easier to cope with or prevent weight gain , unless you are experiencing complications .

Women should aim for about 150 minutes of workout per week , the UK National Health System ( NHS ) recommends . Even brief 10-minute sessions are beneficial , especially because women don ’ t need to push too hard as exercise doesn ’ t need to be strenuous to be helpful .
For those who don ’ t work out regularly , a good starting point is brisk walking . The advice is to engage in it for about 10 minutes every day and slowly reach 150 minutes weekly . Walking is also convenient as it can be done anywhere and fit into one ’ s daily schedule .
When it comes to intensity , a good way to make sure you ’ re not overdoing it is to be able to hold a conversation while exercising� those who can ’ t do it should probably reduce the intensity of their workout .
“ Much of what a pregnant person can and should do to stay healthy during their pregnancy will vary from person to person , but the most important thing to remember is to listen to your body ’ s cues and not push yourself too hard ,” Dr Salena Zanotti , an obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Cleveland Clinic , said on its website , adding that how hard people should work out depends on their physical ability , but they should never “ go full-force .”
Other workouts suitable for pregnant women include low impact aerobics like swimming and elliptical training . Pelvic floor exercises are also beneficial because they help strengthen muscles that come under strain during pregnancy and labour , while prenatal yoga can make women more relaxed with stretching and breathing techniques ( hot yoga isn ’ t recommended though ).
Women who normally run , jog , or play racquet sports can usually continue doing so in pregnancy , but it ’ s better to ask an ob-gyn if those activities are safe as that may change from person to person .
The benefits of regular exercise during pregnancy include reduced back pain and constipation as well as
decreased risk for gestational diabetes , preeclampsia ( high blood pressure ), and cesarean birth , according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . The practice also strengthens both the heart and the blood vessels while helping women to lose weight after giving birth .
Women should also drink plenty of water before , during , and after exercise and avoid working out when it ’ s too hot or humid .
However , some exercise types are dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided . These include those that put women at risk of injury , like contact sports ( soccer , basketball , ice hockey ) snow / water skiing , surfing , and horseback riding .
“ During your pregnancy , your center of balance changes , particularly as your belly expands in the later months ,” explained Dr Zanotti . “ That can put you at a greater risk for falls , so you ’ ll want to stay away from exercises that require balance .”
As is often the case , though , pregnant women should consult an ob-gyn to figure out the safest workout regime for their specific needs .
“ During your pregnancy , your center of balance changes , particularly as your belly expands in the later months .”
18 ISSUE 2 | 2023 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com