ANTENATAL EXERCISE PROGRAMME

					ANTENATAL EXERCISE PROGRAMME
1. Warming-up exercises: Remain in the standing position, remembering to concentrate on correct posture. Place your hands on your hips, and turn from the waist to the left, and back again, and then to the right and back again. Pausing briefly, each time you face forward. Repeat 5 times

Remaining in the same position; let your arms rest loosely at your sides, while still keeping your back straight. Bend from the waist down to one side, then the other, letting your arm follow the trace of your leg as you bend. Repeat 5 times 2. Stretch exercises:

Sit on a firm surface with your back straight, shoulders relaxed and the soles of your feet touching one another and as close to your body as possible. Place your hands either palm down behind you or clasping your ankles. Gently lift and release your knees, making small butterfly-like movements to loosen your waist area. Repeat daily for a couple of minutes.

Adopt a squatting position with a firm chair infront of you for arm support. Keep your back as straight and as aligned as possible and gently press your knees outwards with your elbows. Repeat a few times as part of your exercise programme.

Kneel on a firm surface with knees far apart and toes pointing toward one another. Relax your upper body, resting your arms on your thighs, then gently glide forward, sliding your arms along the ground until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and groin. Remain in that position for at least one minute, breathing deeply as you do so. Slowly release the stretch by following the same pattern across the floor with your arms until your have resumed the former position.

3.

Foot exercises:

Sit on the floor with legs stretched out infront of you, and hands palm-down behind you for support. Point toes down towards the floor, hold for a few seconds, then flex them upwards. Relax the foot completely, and repeat. Repeat 5 times This exercise is particularly helpful for those suffering with calf-cramping.

Remain in the same position, placing a firm pillow or rolled-up blanket under the calf of one leg, so that your ankle hangs loosely. Now roll the foot round in each direction, always coming up in the middle, out and then round, 5 times in each direction, then repeat with the other foot.

Resume a standing position, with feet placed firmly on the floor and weight evenly distributed. Pull the toes of one foot inwards as if you were trying to retrieve something from the floor. Relax, then repeat with the other foot. Repeat 5 times.

4.

Arm and Shoulder exercises:

Stand up straight, weight evenly distributed, and feet slightly apart. Lift the one shoulder, bringing it as close to your ear as possible, but without drooping your head. Roll in a complete circle one way 5 times and repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat with the other shoulder.

Remain in the same position, with arms firmly against your sides. Raise one arm straight up above your head, and

gently swing it down and around, attempting to complete a circle motion, repeating in the opposite direction. Repeat 5 times in each direction with each arm.

5.

Abdominal exercises:

Lie on a firm surface with your head and neck supported with a pillow. Keep your knees bent and slightly apart, and your arms relaxed at your sides. Tense your stomach muscles, and hold for a count of 5, then relax completely - remember to keep your neck and shoulders totally relaxed. Repeat 5 times.

Remaining in the same position, bend your knees to one side, back up and then to the other - neck and shoulders should remain on the floor and totally relaxed. Repeat 5 times.

6.

Back exercises:

Kneel down on all fours, with knees slightly apart and toes facing each other. Drop your head down and hunch your back towards the ceiling, hold for a count of four. then gently release, dropping your spine downwards and raising your head upwards at the same time. Repeat 5 times.

Remain on all fours, and bring your one knee inwards towards your dropped head. Gently kick it out towards the rear, raising your head as you do so. Repeat 5 times with each leg.

7.

Pelvic exercises: Obtaining the correct pelvic tilt during pregnancy will go a long way in helping your body to adapt to it's changing shape, improve over-all circulation, hopefully relieve some of the pregnancy discomforts and strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles in preparation for labour and those first few strenuous weeks of motherhood. Pelvic tilt: Kneel on all fours, with your knees apart and your hands firmly supporting your upper body. Draw your abdomen inwards, rounding your back. Hold for a count of three, then gently relax, letting your back flatten. Repeat a couple of times on a daily basis especially when suffering from backache.

Pelvic floor: Lie on your back with your head and neck supported by a pillow, your knees pulled up and your arms relaxed at your sides. Tense the muscles around your vagina, urethra and rectum (as if to stop the flow of urine). Hold for a count of three, and then relax completely. On doing this exercise correctly, you will notice how your knees pull slightly inwards and buttock muscles become tense. This exercise can be practiced almost anywhere without anyone noticing as it does not necessarily require a lying position. Reasons for toning the pelvic floor muscles:

   

Minimising the effects of stress incontinence in the later stages of pregnancy. Gives added support to your enlarging uterus and growing baby, thus offering more in the way of comfort during pregnancy. Well toned pelvic floor muscles, also aid in preventing a prolapsed uterus following the birth. Increases sexual pleasure for both partners'.

The Golden Rules Of Exercise During Pregnancy

o o o o o

Don't begin a new strenuous exercise activity - stick to what you are familiar with and enjoy. Begin slowly, gradually building up a pattern - Rome wasn't built in a day! If you are already part of an aerobics class, ask for the instructors advice on simple yet effective exercises. Stop if it hurts! All exercise should be followed with a few minutes of deep breathing and total relaxation


				
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