During pregnancy your body goes through tremendous physical changes which most of us tend to overlook. These changes however can make you feel uncomfortable throughout the pregnancy term, and they include how organs such as the heart and lungs function, how your muscles and joints alter and even how your body processes the food you eat. Once you become aware of the mind-boggling changes brought on by pregnancy, you will be motivated to introduce some exercise routine to help you adjust to the new demands that lie ahead.
Changes our Body goes through include the following:
- Many pregnant women have trouble sleeping because of the discomfort they experience in getting comfortable in bed. This problem aggravates during the second and third trimesters leading to the common complaint of fatigue. Exercise helps you relax and keeps you more alert during the day while your nights become restful.
- Center of gravity changes because during pregnancy the uterus pushes your abdomen up and out. Since you are not used to this inevitable change, you may find yourself balancing poorly and as such more vulnerable to falls. Exercise postures need to be introduced and adapted to create a more stable you.
- Weight gain is an inescapable occurrence during pregnancy - your growing baby needs to be well-nourished and as such you cannot diet while you are pregnant (however eating sensibly is advisable). Excess weight gain can cause ailments such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and backache. Exercising when you are pregnant certainly helps you gain at a healthy rate and also the weight gained tends to come off easily after you have had your baby.
- During the pregnancy months women go through another change that can be quite irksome and that is their bodies tend to produce more heat which results in body temperatures warming up at a faster rate vs. when they were not pregnant. As such more care needs to be taken to prevent the body from overheating as this can be dangerous for both mother and baby. As a precaution avoid exercising outdoors or in hot humid atmospheres and dressing appropriately to prevent overheating.
- A shift in posture e.g. hunched shoulders, an increased curve on the lumber spine and chins jutting forward due to protruding bellies and the weight of your breasts cause many women to adopt poor postures. Changes in posture causes stress to be placed on the neck or upper back. Low back pain owing to weight of baby and body fluids can make workouts cumbersome especially in the later months. But because exercise impacts posture positively and also eliminates backaches, it is advisable to engage in forms that are suitable.
- The hormone relaxin loosens joints slightly around the pelvic region to accommodate the baby's head during delivery. Not only that, relaxin relaxes all of the joints and ligaments in our bodies. Especially in the third trimester, the lower back and hip joints can become sore. Although our bodies are more flexible now than ever it is important to avoid exercises and activities that require a lot of balance or jerky movements as your body is ill-equipped at present to deal with jumps or lunges.
- During pregnancy hormones causes a slowdown in activities relating to stomach and intestines. This means digestion is slower now. Further, your intestines and stomach will be pushed up by the enlarging uterus and developing fetus, and this in turn brings about discomforts like constipation, heartburn and indigestion. Exercising along with more fluids will help keep these problems under control.
- The hormone progesterone causes your rate of respiration to rise. Simple tasks can make a pregnant lady breathless. This is certainly not an indication that you are less fit now that you are pregnant but simply a hint that your body is now working harder to deal with changes in your respiratory system. Also as uterus size increases the movement of the diaphragm is restricted causing breathlessness. Sometimes a mild pain can be felt around the back or ribs as your body adapts to breathe in. Once again engaging in the right form of exercise can help remove this problem.
With the shift in the center of gravity, muscles in your legs, hips, back, shoulders either become longer or shorter, leading to poor posture. This in turn causes back pain, stiff and sore joints.
Finally, during pregnancy women are more prone to becoming depressed. Pregnant women often suffer self esteem problems owing to the physical changes that affect their image. At worse if depression is severe enough it can impact the baby negatively. To combat such emotional changes exercise brings about a better attitude and mental balance. Pregnant exercisers exude more confidence than their sedentary counterparts as they become better equipped to deal with the anxiety, depressive thoughts and sleeplessness that can accompany pregnancy.