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Monday, 28 August 2017

5 ways exercise can make labour and delivery easy

Soha Ali Khan has been all over the internet for posting her pregnancy workout pics on Instagram. And why not, she has been giving fitness goals to all the pregnant ladies out there. Now if you have been a non-exerciser throughout, you should get started during your pregnancy. Yes, exercise can help ease your labour. Exercise helps you deal with the demands of pregnancy and labour better, and this has been stated for long with enough evidence. Here’s how exercise helps.
1. Improves your endurance: Labour can be both mentally and physically draining. It can go on for hours and can seem incredibly daunting. Cardiovascular activities can improve your endurance and increase your ability to tolerate labour process [1].
2. Strengthens your pelvic floor muscles: Exercise can help support the pelvic floor muscles which in turn support your vagina, bladder, rectum and urethra. When you are in labour, it is necessary that you relax your pelvic floor muscles for the smooth passage of the foetus through the birth canal [2]. So working your pelvic floor muscles can help ease labour.Follow thiss exercise guide for first, second and third trimester of pregnancy. 

3. Strengthens thigh muscles to combat labour stress: For the same reasons perform your Kegal exercises with vigour. Apart from your pelvic floor muscles Kegels also make your thigh muscles strong to fight the stress of labour. Often it’s the thigh muscles that get fatigued during labour [3]. And that’s when a doctor decides to go for a C-section seeing that a woman has given up due to sheer exhaustion.
4. Prevents excessive weight gain during pregnancy: Many factors such as your age and the weight can influence the first stage of labour. Regular exercise can reduce the possibility of excessive weight gain during pregnancy which in turn can potentially ease the first stage your labour [4].
5. Helps you recover faster after labour: Indulging in physical activity during pregnancy can help you recover faster after delivery [5]. You will also be able to bounce back faster to your pre pregnancy weight. Every pregnant woman must perform these four breathing exercises. 
[1] Hammer, R. L., Perkins, J., & Parr, R. (2000). Exercise During the Childbearing Year. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 9(1), 1–14.
[2] Marques, A., Stothers, L., & Macnab, A. (2010). The status of pelvic floor muscle training for women. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 4(6), 419–424.
[3] Bahadoran, P., Asefi, F., Oreyzi, H., & Valiani, M. (2010). The effect of participating in the labor preparation classes on the maternal vitality and positive affect during the pregnancy and after the labor. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 15(Suppl1), 331–336.
[4] MOTTOLA, M. F., GIROUX, I., GRATTON, R., HAMMOND, J.-A., HANLEY, A., HARRIS, S., … SOPPER, M. M. (2010). Nutrition and Exercise Prevent Excess Weight Gain in Overweight Pregnant Women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(2), 265–272.
[5] Bogdanis, G. C. (2012). Effects of Physical Activity and Inactivity on Muscle Fatigue. Frontiers in Physiology, 3, 142.
Image source: sakpataudi/Instagram

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