Is it Safe to Exercise during Pregnancy?

exercise convonix.jpg

Image: flickr.com

In most cases, some exercises during pregnancy are safe. It is very important to stay fit and have a healthy lifestyle when you are pregnant. Doing some pregnancy exercises will help you maintain weight and prepare for childbirth. Moreover, if you were physically fit and active before pregnancy, it might be safe to stay physically active during pregnancy too. Exercising will also help you overcome mood-swings and sleep well. Here are the answers to some common exercise-related questions running through the minds of most pregnant women.

Will exercising harm my baby?

Contrary to the popular belief, exercising will neither harm your baby nor cause miscarriage. Although heavy exercise will not harm your baby, you will be quickly exhausted. This is because the amount of blood in your body increases by about 50 percent when you are pregnant, and your heart works harder to circulate blood all around, including to the placenta. Therefore the pressure on your heart will be 50 percent higher for the same exercise that you used to do before pregnancy.

What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?

Not all exercises for pregnant women are safe. Some of the exercises and activities you should avoid during pregnancy are as follows:
• Activities in which you’re likely to fall, such as skiing
• Holding your breath during any activity
• Exercising in humid or hot weather
• Full sit-ups, deep knee bends, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches
• Twisting your waist while standing
• Playing sports, such as football, basketball, and volleyball.
• Any exercise that may lead to abdominal trauma, including activities that require speedy changes in direction
• Activities that involve extensive hopping, jumping, skipping, running, or bouncing
• Bouncing while stretching
• Heavy exercise followed by long duration of no activity

What are the advantages of exercising?

Here are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy.
• Better sleep. Know more about best sleeping positions during pregnancy
• Lower the risk of some complications related to pregnancy
• Reduced discomfort
• Boost in energy and reduced stress
• Improved self-image
• Prepares you for childbirth
• Helps you quickly get in shape after delivery

You would be pleased to know that there are some pregnancy exercises for normal delivery. However, consult your doctor to know which exercise best suits your body.

When should I stop exercising during pregnancy?

It is advisable to stop exercising and consult your doctor if you go through the following symptoms while exercising:
• Abdominal cramping
• Severe nausea
• Vaginal bleeding
• Light-headedness
• Extreme headaches

From yoga to Pilates to swimming during pregnancy, exercising enhances your spirits and prepares you for labour. Pregnancy isn’t the time to your limits, and it’s important to be cautious while working out. Pampers India will be your best friend during and after pregnancy. Read through the expert tips and get answers to all your queries from Pampers India.

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How to sleep well during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, one of the things that I was frequently told and which irritated me to no limits was, “Sleep all that you want to. Once the baby comes, you won’t get much of it.” If you are pregnant and reading this, I am sure you will agree with me. Sleep is a very important thing. We know that. But during pregnancy it’s more so, as a good night’s sleep is a scarce commodity. There are various factors contributing to it. Hormones, morning sickness, exhaustion, bulging tummy and frequent urination all are major culprits in stealing away your precious zzzzzzs. how to sleep well during pregnancy Here are some tips that might help you sleep well during pregnancy: Eat well: Even though you feel like giving into your food cravings during pregnancy, you don’t always need to. Remember, these cravings might not be good for your sleep. Eating rich, fried and spicy food plays havoc with your digestion. And all that indigestion and bloating might keep you awake all night. Tips:

  • Eat light but nutritious food.
  • Try to fulfill your food cravings in the first part of the day. It will give your system the whole day to digest the food.
  • Eat foods like soups, salads or home-made cooked meals in the evenings.
  • Avoid drinking liquids and diuretics like green tea and coffee post evening to control frequent urination.
  • A glass of warm milk just before bed helps many in sleeping well. Try it out; it might work for you.

Be active: I had read this line somewhere and had made my mantra during pregnancy. “I am pregnant, not sick.” Physical exercise is very important for a good digestion. So move a little, do a little and walk a little. It is important to ensure a good night’s sleep. Tips:

  • Be active throughout the day; run small errands. Instead of asking a maid or a family member for a glass of water or other things, get up yourself and take care of these things on your own.
  • Indulge in light exercise, yoga, walking for at least 30-45 minutes daily.

Sleeping position: How you sleep during pregnancy is also very important. After the first trimester, you are told not to sleep on your tummy or your back. For people like me who usually sleep on their tummy, it is a painful transition. Tips:

  • As soon as you learn about your pregnancy, practice sleeping on your sides, so till the time you reach your second trimester, you are used to it.
  • Buy a maternity pillow. It will help you sleep more comfortably without the frequent fear of you crushing your tummy. Post delivery, it doubles up as a nursing pillow.
  • You can use regular pillows too like I had used. You will need 2-3 extra pillows. Put one pillow cushioning your tummy and the second one between your knees. As I frequently changed sides in sleep, I kept a third pillow on the other side too so that I didn’t need to keep on moving the pillow back and forth while sleeping.

Right environment: You can’t sleep if you are feeling too hot or too cold or feeling all worked up. The best thing is to create the right environment to sleep. Tips:

  • Take a shower before sleeping; a hot or cold whichever helps.
  • Switch off your smartphone/tablet or whatever it is that you are hooked to at least half an hour before sleeping. Thank God, I didn’t own a smartphone back then; or it would have been such a fight logging off from What’s app.
  • Read a good book. Many people swear by reading to make them sleep. I am still trying to figure it out how it happens. Give me a good book and I can stay awake the night. Anyway, if reading works for you, go for it. You might try something that you find the least interesting, I am sure, it will put you to sleep (oh, that came out wrong! Ummm, but you still got my meaning, right?)
  • Listen to music. I remember logging on to YouTube and listening to ‘Music to help me sleep’ or ‘Music to help me relax’. Even before it was halfway into the audio, I was already transported to the dreamland.
  • Also, sometimes you are not able to catch up on your sleep at one go. Then it makes sense to break your sleep; indulge in mid-morning nap or an afternoon siesta. But make sure to switch off your cell phone or door bells to avoid getting disturbed.

Some of the tips above are tested by me and they worked well. The others I have heard or read. Try them out, for you never know which one clicks for you.

The Foods For Pregnancy

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time now but somehow it got pushed for one reason or the other. When I was pregnant, my mummy’s very good friend gave me a list of things that I needed to eat every month of pregnancy.

foods for pregnancy

These foods were recommended by an Ayurveda /naturopathy practitioner. There’s a specific health reason for eating them though neither the lady nor I know them.

Remember, these foods don’t compensate for your overall nutrition. It’s over and above your normal pregnancy diet.

So here it is.

First let me tell you what not to eat or avoid during pregnancy:

Papaya, pineapple, tindora (ivy gourd), guar fali (cluster bean). Papain in papaya is known to induce premature contractions. Not sure about guar fali’s active role in miscarriage; I just know this that guar fali causes a lot of gas and intestinal distress. Better to be safe than sorry.

What to eat during:

1st and 2nd months: Most women are hardly aware that they are pregnant by this time. Hence, this nutrition diet starts only from 3rd month onwards.

3rd month:

Make a halwa of bottle gourd in milk. Don’t use mawa.

You may even eat petha.

Bottle gourd and petha have cooling properties which is required in the first trimester.

4th month:

Almond Balls

Crushed almond                               –              150 gm

Crushed candy sugar (mishri)     –              150 gm

Crushed cardamom                        –              a pinch

Long pepper (peepramul)            –              ½ tsp

Ghee                                                     –              as required

Warm a little ghee and add crushed sugar in it. Mix well. Once it cools off, add almond powder, peepramul and cardamom in the pan. Mix well. Make small 30 balls, out of the mixture, for each day of the 4th month.

Now take an earthen dish and fill some water. Put one almond ball in a small silver bowl and cover it. Now place that bowl in the earthen dish and leave it overnight.

Eat this ball the first thing the next morning.

5th month:

Eat 1 spoon Chyavanprash every morning with milk.

Coconut Sukhdi

Grated coconut                                –              150 gm

Crushed candy sugar                                      –              75 gm

Jaggary (molasses)                          –              75 gm

Ghee                                                     –              as required

In a pan, warm some ghee and add sugar powder and jaggary. Turn off the gas. Now add grated coconut in the pan and mix well. Pour the entire contents of the pan on a greased plate, spread it well and let it cool. After some time, cut into diamond shaped pieces. Eat one daily for the whole 5th month.

6th month:

foods for pregnancy

Oh, this one’s simple and every one can do it.

Every morning, drink 1 glass of warm milk to which a little saffron and cardamom powder is added.

Every night, drink 1 glass of warm milk to which ¼ sp turmeric is added.

It’s supposed to help your child have a fair complexion. I doubt this claim. I guess they are eaten for their medicinal benefits rather than the colour advantage.

7th month:

This one I had simply hated and didn’t follow it. Well, I was totally put off by cumin in my entire pregnancy.

Caraway seeds (Othmir jeera – I guess that is shahi jeera)            –              50 gm

Cumin seeds (sada jeera)                                                                             –              50 gm

Candy sugar                                                                                                       –              100 gm

Mix all these ingredients in a jar. Take 1 spoon every day for the next 30 days

8th month:

Fenugreek balls

It was ugh, so bad that I had nightmares of eating it even after my delivery. But it has lots of health benefits. That’s what counts, isn’t it?

Wheat flour                                                        –              200 gm

Fenugreek seed powder (methi)                              –              75 gm

Crushed almond                                               –              50 gm

Crushed candy sugar                                      –              350 gm

Long pepper (peepramul)                            –              1 tsp

Ghee                                                                     –              as required

In a pan, roast wheat flour in ghee. Turn off the gas as soon as the flour changes its colour. Now add the ingredients and mix well. Now make small 30 balls. Have 1 ball every morning with milk.

9th month:

There’s no dietary restriction. I remember eating everything from papaya to pineapple. As your baby is entirely formed in the womb, I didn’t see any harm in eating a little of everything. As such post delivery, there are dietary restrictions for 40 days.

Be active and have a healthy pregnancy.

Things people say to you during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a funny time. It evokes all sorts of emotions in people around you. People are suddenly more friendly and caring towards you. They are full of advice which though endearing for most part can be a bit stifling too. And then there are others who feel awkward with this giant bump sticking out of your belly that they end up saying things which they shouldn’t utter even in private.

pregnant advice

Image – pexels

During my pregnancy, there were times when I got a few unexpected advices or requests from family and absolute strangers. They were sometimes shocking and sometimes embarrassing. I have tried to fetch them from the far recesses of my mind and compile them here. Let’s see if I can have a good laugh over them today (well, I was certainly in no mood to appreciate them at that time).

As soon as they heard that I was pregnant, the second thing a few people said after congratulating me, was “I didn’t know you were planning?” They seemed offended. Why? May be I should have carried a board with me saying, “I am having sex to procreate. Any advice please!” 

Oh, this one is very common. Any woman will scare you or bore you with her pregnancy horror stories. Sometimes she need not be a mother herself to recount stories of women she knows. I bore all these with a smile inwardly my patience running thinner every time it happened. There was this friend of my aunt who was such a fat sadistic soul. For 30 minutes, she narrated me stories about long labours and botched up C-sections.

I was facing enough nightmares as such; I didn’t want to know what more was coming.

Another thing that you will be asked often is, “When are you due?” From friends and family, you don’t mind this. But you get asked by absolute strangers too. I felt like screaming this every time, “How does it affect you?” but the nice little girl in me didn’t let it happen. She just smiled and let it pass till the next time it happened all over again.

My 8th month and I had hardly put on any weight. Only a little belly had jutted out. Nobody seeing me from behind could have guessed that I was pregnant. Then I met my neighbour. Looking at my minuscule belly, she asked, “When are you due?” I replied, “Next month.” “Oh, you are so small, I would have never guessed it.” I seethed inwardly. She might not have meant it maliciously, but I wasn’t so forgiving at that moment. Her inadvertent comment also made me anxious. “Was I really so small? Is my baby small too?” I immediately called up my GYN/OB and expressed my concern. Only once she soothed me did I calm down.

Once your tummy starts showing, it’s a tough time fending off constant requests from people who want to feel your baby’s kicks. Yes, funny, isn’t it? I can understand the joy it gives to the mother and father, but what fun does it give to others??? This is my body, give me one good reason why I should let you touch me?

This one takes the cake. So I have saved it for the last. One of my close family members asked me, “When was your last period?” Yes, you read it right the first time. Why? I am not sure till date. I felt like asking her, “May be you’d like to know the date I had intercourse too?” But I chose to stay quiet. Damn!

Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes irritating, but the truth is there’s no escaping it. So be prepared for the unexpected.

If you have a funny tale to recount, do share it here. It will be fun to have a laugh together.