PREGNANCY: EXERCISE? DANCE?Posted on Apr 27, 2018
The ever unsolved query about whether one should exercise during pregnancy or not, what are the exercises that should be done, frequency and repetition per, what are the different forms available, till which month exercises must be done, when to stop exercises, can exercises be done during labor and the most frequently asked question, “Why should I exercise during pregnancy?”
Exercise during pregnancy is clichéd to a great extent in India and when it comes to dance, it is a big no as there is lack of knowledge about the proper form, correct technique and the benefits of it during pregnancy and labor. When the happy news breaks of conception, the activity level of the woman goes down by notches; even a simple glass of water is served to her. Many activities of daily living are given assistance; bending, sitting cross leg and twisting are not allowed; exercises are neglected and not given the required amount of importance and by the end of the third trimester they are housebound! Many myths revolve around exercises during pregnancy, to name a few: exercises are not good for the baby and the mother, a baby doesn’t get proper nutrition if mother exercises, exercises break the water bag, and it induces premature labor.
Exercise workout for the “expecting mothers” is need of the hour. Every woman has the ability to deliver the natural way but in the present world the quality of food has become inferior, lives have become sedentary, work assistance is more and mental stress has increased by leaps and bounds. Exercise is an integral part of pregnancy which makes the mommy-to-be fit, active and most importantly it increases the chances of normal delivery plus assists in delivering the natural way. Even if one wasn’t exercising before pregnancy, this is the best time to start exercises. The pregnancy hormone; i.e. progesterone; itself is a very depressing hormone and exercises help to tone down its effects by releasing happy hormones. There are many benefits of exercise viz. keeps the expecting mother happy, a baby becomes active in a womb, helps the mother to be calm, keeps the hormones in check, prepare for the birthing process, the post-delivery recovery is relatively quick and helps to keep baby blues at bay. The many more benefits of exercises are:
Pregnancy and childbirth alters the dynamic structures of the body which leaves the body in a weak state vulnerable to pains, aches, and injuries. Maintaining good body posture and exercises avoid/ resolve much pregnancy
and postpartum problems, both physical and mental.
A wide range of exercises can be done which includes yogasanas, strengthening, pilates, stretching, bodyweight workout and pregnancy dance. Note: Only walking is never enough. Walking is just cardio and strength training is a must to increase the strength and tone of the pelvic floor muscles (musculature around the uterus and the birth canal).
Why not Dance? Who doesn’t love to dance? Then why restrict during Pregnancy? Dance is an amazing form of exercise that helps the body to loosen up, makes one happy and stress-free! Dance in itself is a complete workout
a routine which includes strengthening, maintains and increases the tone of the muscles, core body workout, releases tightness of the muscles, an excellent form of cardio, upper body workout, increases chest mobility and increases pelvic mobility. It includes different dance forms, to name a few, jive, cha cha cha, belly dancing, soft bhangra, waltz, salsa, ballet and freestyle. Guided exercise program must be taken to learn the proper form, correct technique and to avoid injury. The dance routine should start with complete body warm up and should be followed by cool down. The duration of the session should range between 45minutes to 60minutes.
After completion of 3months of pregnancy (first trimester) i.e. from 4th month onwards.
Till the day you deliver. There are exercises that can be done during labor to help speed up the process of childbirth.
Exercise is the key to a maximum of the aches, pains and few problems felt during pregnancy. It is a boon and a blessing in disguise. Even if you weren’t exercising earlier, pregnancy is the best time to take up a guided exercise program.
The author of the article is a Physiotherapist and a Childbirth Educator. She conducts various regular classes at her clinic in Nagpur and events related to pregnancy care, pregnancy dance and postpartum care of both mother and the baby.