Prenatal Workout: Pros and Cons Pregnancy is a very sensitive time of heightened responsibility and huge changes in a woman’s body. Even women who have had babies already approach a new pregnancy with reflection upon the previous one, thinking about what they can improve to maintain a healthier body or just make the whole nine months at least a little bit easier. For women who are pregnant for the first time, everything is so new and there is just so much information and myths out there, leaving the expectant mother thoroughly confused. One thing that has especially been debated over is the question of exercising while pregnant. We’ll go over the pros and cons here to clear things up so you don’t have to ponder over it anymore. Benefits of Prenatal Workout The emotional, mental changes that women experience during pregnancy are just as enormous as the physical ones. Studies have shown various benefits of exercising while pregnant, which include: -decreasing the length of labor and helping reduce recovery time afterwards. Also, a lot of stamina is needed for delivery, and what other way to build stamina than through exercise? -weight management -maintaining emotional health – which is directly related to the previous point. The changes in the body, including weight gain, naturally present a negative emotional effect on many pregnant women, and since exercising leads to releasing endorphins, it helps counteract these mood changes and keep a positive body image. -reducing side effects of pregnancy such as swelling, constipation, fatigue, headaches and back pain -helping decrease the risk of premature birth by about 50% Types of Exercises However, since a pregnant woman’s body is different from that of a non-pregnant one, it is of crucial significance to choose the right exercises, and adjust them accordingly. A workout plan should be constructed with the help of a professional, and it should be constantly adapted as the pregnancy advances. All exercises are light and moderate, and women who have not previously been physically active can choose to start exercising at any time. In that case, it’s important to be consistent with the workout, start with very light exercises and let them build gradually. Many experts like Dr Rahul Sen suggest that pelvic floor muscle exercises are essential for any pregnant woman, at any stage. By strengthening these muscles, you can prevent leakage of urine after birth as well as maintain sexual function and stability of the spine. It is generally recommended to exercise 3-4 times a week, and some of the most popular exercises are prenatal yoga and pilates . Other ideal forms of activity are brisk walking, light jogging, and especially aqua aerobics, since all exercises in the water put minimal stress on the joints. Even weightlifting is acceptable, but it must be extremely light. Hazards In essence, there are no cons to exercising during pregnancy, and the idea that pregnant women must stay in a constant state of „resting“ has long been overcome. However, there can be cons to exercising if it is not done right. Excessive and strenuous physical activity can cause side effects such as: -amniotic fluid leakage -severe chest pain and breathlessness -vaginal bleeding -regular painful contractions -dizziness So, remember to always keep your activity light to moderate, and if something doesn’t feel right during the exercise, especially if you feel pulling or discomfort around your belly and pelvis, stop it. Also, flexion of the spine should be avoided after the first trimester, which eliminates all crunches. Another thing to avoid is inversions (being upside down or lifting your legs over your head) and lying on your back for more than a couple of minutes, because it puts the whole weight of the uterus on the spine. We are lucky to be living in a time of advanced medical care and a time when old myths are being overcome. The majority of pregnant women today participate in some form of physical activity. Take it easy, always consult a professional, and enjoy yourself!