Pregnant? Congratulations! Now is the perfect time to stay active with a few exercise habits.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
Slowing down does not mean zero physical activity. In fact, Dr Lim Min Yu, consultant OBGYN at Gleneagles Hospital, encourages regular exercise as it has many benefits for you and your baby.
Doing gentle exercises help you to cope with changes in your posture
and strain on your joints during pregnancy. It also makes it easier for you
to get back into shape after your baby is born.
Due to the release of endorphins, exercise can help to boost your mood if you’re feeling low. Exercise may also increase your chance of a straightforward labour and birth. He also encourages pelvic floor exercises as your uterus enlarges as your pregnancy progresses and the extra pressure on the pelvic floor can make them feel weaker than usual. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause your pelvic floor to relax slightly. Weak pelvic floor muscles put you at risk of developing urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. You can help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises, or Kegels, regularly throughout your pregnancy.
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Dr Christopher Ng, OBGYN at GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic at Camden Medical Centre recommends some other exercises that pregnant women can do:
It is gentle on the joints but at the same time involves most muscle groups from legs and arms to the back.
Riding a stationary bike
The risk of falling off your bicycle due to balancing problems as the pregnancy advances is avoided.
Low impact aerobic exercises
Ideal for women who wish to push themselves a little more.
Buoyancy from the water utilises most of the body’s muscles without the impact stresses on the joints. Water also reduces the risk of heat exhaustion.
Running or jogging
It’s fine if you were doing this routinely before getting pregnant. Do remember to reduce the distance or keep the same distance but run at a slower pace so as not to overstrain yourself.
An excellent way to improve one’s posture, muscle tone and strength. It’s also a good method to relieve backaches and muscle strains during pregnancy.
Warm up and cool down
Ample time is needed before commencing exercise and after an exercise routine. This will reduce the risk of overstraining muscles, ligaments and joints as well as preventing the body from overheating.
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