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Last Updated: Dec 08, 2019

Exercise & Pregnancy - Can We Mix Both?

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Dr. Sushma PurohitGynaecologist • 22 Years Exp.MBBS, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fellowship of Gynaecology Oncology, Fellowship in Laparoscopy
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Contrary to what some people may believe, exercise during pregnancy does not raise the risks of miscarriage or low birth weight or an early delivery. On the contrary, it offers a host of benefits to both the mother and the child. However, this doesn't mean that there are no risks of a workout during pregnancy whatsoever.

Women who have been active before pregnancy may continue with the exercises. But, those who are new to exercise must get advice on the exercise regimen from an expert. Here is an account of the benefits and the risks associated-

Benefits of exercise on the mother’s emotional health
Various studies have shown that women who keep themselves physically fit during pregnancy are generally more relaxed, and thus they can cope better with the psychological and emotional strains of pregnancy.

Women, who work out throughout pregnancy develop a better sense of wellbeing owing to a wide array of positive effects from exercise such as controlling weight and maintaining body image and self-esteem. It also helps improve sleep. Further, it is believed that the positive effects stay even after delivery, which may reduce the incidence of postnatal depression.

It is a proven fact that women who exercise during pregnancy experience an increased muscular and cardiovascular strength and fitness. It also improves posture owing to the increase in abdominal and upper body strength. Exercising during pregnancy improves blood circulation, which, in turn, can prevent varicose veins as well as deep vein thrombosis. It also helps reduce instances of constipation and swelling. Furthermore, the expectant mothers experience less pain during labor along with reduced medical interventions. It is also proven that the mothers, who work out regularly, give birth to an emotionally and physically healthy baby.

Risks of exercising during pregnancy
Though exercise is proven to be a safe means of mitigating various problems, it can bring about some risks and complications as well.

The hormones which are stimulated during pregnancy can induce premature contractions. Also, it causes an increase in glucose consumption for helping the fatigued muscles to cope up. It may affect the glucose level of the fetus as well. Overheating while exercising can disrupt the maternal thermoregulation to a great extent. Therefore, one should refrain from strenuous workouts or work out in high temperatures.

A few specific risks-
Exercise during pregnancy is not advisable when you have medical conditions like asthma, Type I diabetes or heart disease. Also, women with obstetric conditions such as bleeding or spotting, and weak cervix must refrain from exercising.

It is necessary to take an opinion from your gynecologist before you start with your exercise plan. Particularly, when you wish to do aerobic exercises, it is quite necessary to consult your doctor as the exercises may not suit you under several conditions.

Thus, staying active with an exercise plan is beneficial, but with necessary care and guidance, of course.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

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