PREGNANCY AND EXERCISE Exercise is a big plus for both Mother and the baby. It can help you in:- 1) Prepare for the “Big Day” (Birth of the child). Muscles and a fit Heart can greatly ease labour and delivery. Gaining control over ones breathing can help manage pain. Increase in endurance can help in the lengthy labour process. 2) Look and feel better. Exercise increases the blood flow to your skin thus giving a healthy glow. Exercise releases Endorphins commonly known as endorphins which make you feel better rest of day. Also it relieves backaches, improves posture by strengthening muscles in ones abdomen, back, hips and thighs. It reduces constipation by accelerating movement in ones intestine. Important tips while exercising during Pregnancy, 1) Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. 2) Start gradually. Even 5 minutes a day is a good start if you've been inactive. Add 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes. 3) Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes and wear a supportive bra to protect your breasts. 4) Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating and dehydration. 5) Skip your exercises if you're sick. 6) Opt for a walk in an air-conditioned mall on hot, humid days. 7) Avoid Decline position exercises, since the blood pressure is normally on a higher side during the first trimester, due to increase in the blood volume. 8) Haemoglobin levels drop, thus listen to your body, your fitness levels may not remain the same as pre-pregnancy. 9) Abdominal and back exercises are important. They help with postural changes and stability and keep your body strong after the baby’s born, when you’ll have a lot of lifting to do. Since doing crunches on your back is not safe, thus switch to standing pelvic tilts or lying on your side or on your hands and knees; concentrate on bringing your navel toward your spine. You can also experiment with wall sits, side-lying bicep curls, side-lying lifts, side-lying lateral raises, and side-lying triceps extensions. 10) Stretching is critical. The third trimester is a great time to make stretching the focus of your fitness routine. Stretching is a great way to keep the blood flowing through your muscles, relieve tension, and keep your body supple. Here are a few stretches to explore: child’s pose, child’s kneel, tailor stretch, full back stretch and calf, ankle, and foot stretches. 11) Swimming helps to decrease the pressure on the joints during exercise. However the intensity needs to be monitored. 12) Yoga is a great way to increase the oxygen uptake. There is an increase demand in oxygen supply to the growing tissues and baby. Also oxygen helps in reducing pain during delivery. 13) Avoid heavy weights. During the third trimester, hormonal changes are thought to induce a greater laxity in joints, tendons, and ligaments in order to help accommodate the delivery of your new arrival. This makes you more susceptible to sprains and strains, so make sure to use light weight at this time. 14) From about half way through the pregnancy, you should avoid any exercises that require one to lie on your back. This position puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which will diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus, and can make one dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. Placing a pillow under your right hip or buttock will allow you to be almost supine without compressing the vena cava. 15) Do not try any new exercises. Due to the postural changes, there is a feeling of imbalance. Thus avoid any new exercises. 16) Cardiovascular Exercise helps in protecting from conditions like Gestational Diabetes.