A guide to Prenatal and Post partum exercises

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Pregnancy is a time for both joy and worries. Your body goes through a lot of changes during these months and immediately after. Staying healthy, active and fit is a priority if you want a safe and enjoyable pregnancy and childbirth. If you exercise regularly, you should continue doing so even during pregnancy, after consulting your physician. If not, the second trimester is the best time to start.

Benefits of Pre Natal Workouts
During pregnancy, regular exercise increases physical stamina, improves flexibility and keeps you in a happy mood. It also helps you to relax, sleep well and fights depression. It also helps to reduce pregnancy related conditions like constipation, pre-ecclampsia and gestational diabetes. In short, regular prenatal workouts condition your body and mind so that you are better prepared to cope with the stress of labour and childbirth. Post delivery recovery is also faster and easier if you remain active throughout your pregnancy.

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How to Start with Prenatal Workouts?
The basic aim of prenatal workouts should be to help you achieve and maintain a strong and flexible body. You should not aim for any fitness goal and select low intensity workouts that you are comfortable with. The level of intensity should be such that you can comfortable carry on with a conversation while working out. Always listen to your body and discontinue exercise the moment you feel any discomfort in any part of your body. Your body will change from month to month and so should your exercise options. Do remember to stretch properly both before and after your workouts in order to improve their suppleness which will reduces chances of injury. Brisk walking, swimming, hiking, rowing, dance, water aerobics, stationary cycling, Pilates and yoga are some of the low intensity workouts that you can safely do during pregnancy.

Benefits of Postnatal Workouts
It is all the more important to stay physically active once the baby is born. Your body goes through a lot of stress and strain, irrespective of whether you had a vaginal birth or caesarean section. Some kind of physical activity will improve your physical stamina so that your recovery is quick, safe and complete. Post partum workouts strengthen your spine and muscles, improve blood circulation and aid in the healing process that your body goes through.

How to Start with Postnatal Workouts?
Always talk to your healthcare provider before commencing with any kind of post partum workout. If you have had an uncomplicated vaginal birth, it is safe to start some kind of physical activity after six weeks of delivery. Consult with your physician in case you have given birth through caesarean section. Weight loss should not be your prime concern during this period. You will gradually revert to a healthy weight in time through regular exercise and a balanced diet. Rest frequently and keep yourself hydrated. Simple everyday activities like mowing the lawn, raking the leaves or going for a walk with your baby can be good post partum exercises. You can also do stretching, pelvic floor exercise, yoga, Pilates or Kegels.