Exercise and Travel during Pregnancy: FAQs

Exercise

Does exercise in early pregnancy cause miscarriages?

Research shows that women who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from complications during pregnancy and have an easier delivery when compared to those who don’t. During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it is advised to avoid too much exercise as miscarriages are common during these initial stages. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise regime.

Which exercises help relieve back pain?

The heavy baby load during the last trimester of pregnancy gives you a backache usually, though backache can also occur earlier. Prevent back strain by maintaining a proper posture while sitting and standing. A birth ball or cushion should help you sit upright which will keep the abdominal muscles in proper alignment. Exercises such as walking and yoga (only those poses that are suitable for pregnant women) help with keeping the joints supple and mobile. There are certain yoga poses and pelvic tilts done when you are standing or sitting that will give your lower back a good workout. Warm baths, massages, hot and cold compresses will further help.

How much exercise is actually needed during pregnancy?

Inadequate rest, dehydration or too many working hours when you are pregnant will tire you out. Eating a balanced diet is of primary importance as your body will need the extra calories and if you are working out, then energy depletion should also be kept in mind. The following factors ascertain you are not overdoing the exercise:

  • Your heart rate
  • Being able to talk when on treadmill
  • The fatigue level after workout

How often should I exercise to stay active?

During pregnancy, working out a few times a week is enough. Let your body tell you when it is tired and slow down or even avoid a workout. A moderate 30-minute workout about 4-5 times a week is good enough.

What does post-workout fatigue during pregnancy mean?

If you feel so tired that you cannot go about even your daily activities, then take that as a sign that you have worked out more than required. Though feeling fatigued is common during pregnancy, you have to be careful you are not overdoing your exercise routine. The fatigue could be due to a particular exercise regimen not suiting the stage of your pregnancy or that you are new to exercise or that you are doing it in excess. Whatever the reason, you will need to re-evaluate the level or the type of activity to prevent the exhaustion.

What are the things to be considered before starting on any exercise program when you are pregnant?

Before starting any exercise regimen, you need to answer these questions:

  • Do you generally feel healthy and positive about your pregnancy?
  • Did you exercise before you became pregnant?
  • Have you had any complications with your previous pregnancy or with your current pregnancy?

Once you have honest answers for all the questions, you will need to consult your doctor and discuss an exercise program that suits your condition.

What forms of exercises are ideal for me during pregnancy?

Start with a walking program and add pelvic floor exercises. You can also do some gentle stretching for 3-5 minutes and gradually increase it to 10 minutes. If you like swimming, then you can do that. The water tones your muscles without causing you any strain. In late pregnancy, swimming becomes even more enjoyable as the water makes you feel lighter and cools you down. If you prefer dancing as a form of exercise, you can take that up or try aerobics as suited to pregnancy. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout your exercise session. Remember, exercising while you are pregnant is not about losing weight or maintaining your weight but about staying healthy for you and your baby. Always, consult your OB before starting any exercise regimen.

When is exercise considered unsuitable for pregnant women?

If your pregnancy is considered ‘high risk,’ avoid any form of exercise. Get your doctor’s consent before you start on any form of exercise activity. For a detailed list of what exercises to avoid and when, please refer to the booklet on ‘Gearing Up’.

Is sex safe during pregnancy?

There is generally no restrictions on sex while you are pregnant. But it is always advisable to consult your OB to ensure you don’t have any conditions which preclude sex, like the risk of preterm labour or miscarriage or Placenta Previa. Choose a position that is most comfortable for you and puts no weight on your uterus. As your pregnancy advances, you will have to keep changing positions.

Travelling:

Is travelling safe during pregnancy?

As most common obstetric emergencies occur in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, it is safe to travel between 18 and 24 weeks in the second trimester. Any decisions to travel should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider.

During air travel, is the cabin pressure harmful to the foetus?

In small planes, the cabins are not pressurized, so avoid traveling in them when you are pregnant. In commercial planes, the cabin pressure is maintained at a level safe for women with healthy pregnancies. As with exercising, before traveling be sure to check with your OB as there are certain conditions like anaemia, history of blood clots or other circulatory related diseases which preclude traveling.

What is deep vein thrombosis and what are its effects on pregnancy?

Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a blood clot in the deep leg vein, invisible to the naked eye. This is different from varicose veins which we can see. Moving about will make the blood flow easily and prevent DVT.  If we stay immobile for longer periods, there is a danger of DVT which will partially or totally block the blood flow.

Pregnancy is one of the several factors which cause DVT. One in a thousand pregnant women develops this problem during pregnancy. The situation is grave if you have had DVT previously and are now pregnant. Staying immobile on long flights slows the blood flow in the legs and the blood clots. To ensure this doesn’t happen, take short walks to stretch your legs to prevent clots, especially in your calves, when flying. Since both air travel and pregnancy increase the risk of DVT and clotting, it is best to avoid flying while pregnant.

 

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *