Developing an Exercise Program
Your obstetrician should approve the exercise
program, during pregnancy.
During Sustained exercises, heart rate increases and breathing
becomes deeper resulting in more oxygen entering
the blood. This strengthens the heart and lungs
Conditioning exercises improves the tone of the muscles, which
are being used. They also prevent fat deposition
in those areas and keep the muscles stretched.
Doing a combination of these exercises
help you to burn Calories, tone your muscles,
develop your cardiopulmonary system (heart and
lung) and increase the oxygen saturation in the
Walking, bicycling, swimming are good forms of sustained
Brisk walking for 15 – 20 minutes a day helps develop
Bicycling on a stationery
bicycle (to avoid injury) is another excellent
Swimming for 15 –
20 minutes few times a week builds the tone
of your legs, arms and back muscles.
exercises improve the muscle tone of the specific
areas being used. Do these exercises slowly and
smoothly. Initially, do each exercise 2 – 3 times
per each sitting. Slowly increase the number of
repetitions. Do the exercise in the order they
Inhale slowly while raising both
your arms over your head to the count of 5. Then
exhale, slowly lowering both your arms, first
straight out in front of you, then down by your
sides, and then behind your back, to the count
Advantages : Relieves tension
and strengthens the shoulders and the upper back.
Precautions: Do not arch
your back while doing this exercise.
Repetitions : 5 times per exercise session.
q Arm Rotation:
Stretch your arms out to your sides with your
palms up. Make small circles to the count of 10,
gradually increasing the size of the circles.
Then reverse the direction of the circles, starting
with large circles and gradually decreasing their
size to another count of 10.
Advantages: Relieves tension
and strengthens the upper back and upper arm muscles.
Repetitions: 2-5 times per
q Shoulder Rotation:
Method: Place your fingertips
on your shoulders and make backward circles with
your elbows. Then reverse the direction and make
Relieves upper backache caused by change in your
centre of gravity due to poor posture or heavy
Repetitions: 10 times per
Methods: Stand facing a wall or your partner
with one leg well forward and the foot flat on
the floor. Stretch the other leg behind you with
the knee straight and the foot flat on the floor.
Press your hands flat against the wall or your
partner’s hands. Lunge forward, bending the front
leg at the knee and stretching the other calf.
Stretch gradually for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat
with the other leg forward.
Advantages: Decreases leg cramps and improves
circulation in the legs.
Repetitions: 3 to 5 times per exercise session.
q q Swinging
Sit on a chair. Draw large circles in the air
with your toes. Rotate your ankles and feet to
draw the circles, but do not move your legs. You
can do either both feet at once or one foot at
a time. Do some circles left to right and some
from right to left.
Relieves tension strengthens the muscles of the
feet. Helps relieve circulatory problems in your
legs. They are useful in dealing with the discomfort
from swelling, varicose veins, and cramps.
Kneel on the floor on all fours, keeping the knees
apart. Do not let your spine sag. Align your head
with your spine, tuck in your bottom, pull up
your abdominal muscles, and press your spine up
at the lower back just enough to erase the spinal
curve, do not hump your back. Hold this position
for a few seconds, then return to the starting
Repeat the exercise using a constant
rhythm and a rockin0g motion.
Advantages: Relieves backache and pelvic
congestion. Increases tone of abdominal muscles.
10 times per exercise session.
q Tailor Press:
Method: Sit on the floor
with your legs in front of you and the soles of your feet
pressed together and pulled toward your body.
Using only the muscles of your legs, press your
knees downward. You will feel your inner thigh
muscles pull slightly.
Stretches the ligaments and muscles on the inside
of the thighs and increases their elasticity.
Repetition: 10 times per
Method: Sit on the floor
with your legs in front of you and the soles of
your feet pressed together and pulled toward your
body (as in tailor press). Hold your knees with
your hands. Try to pull your knees up with your
hands while pushing them down with your leg muscles.
Hold for a count of 5. Now try to press your knees
down with your hands while pulling them up with
your leg muscles. Hold for another count of 5.
There should be no movement in either of these
positions, just stationary counterpressure.
Advantages: Strengthens the
inner thigh muscles and the pectoral muscles (muscles
of the chest), which support the breasts.
Repetitions: 5 repeats per
q Tailor Stretch:
Method: Sit on the floor
with your legs stretched out in front of you and
angled apart. Lean forward and either reach each
hand to its corresponding ankle (right hand to
right ankle and left hand to left ankle) or move
both hands down the same leg until you reach the
toes, then repeat with the other leg.
Advantages: Stretches the ligaments
and muscles on the insides of the thighs and increases
their elasticity. Stretches the lower back and
Repetitions: 10 times per
The part of your body including
your hipbones is the pelvic area. At the bottom of the
pelvis, several layers of muscle stretch between
your legs. The muscles attached to the front,
back, and sides of the pelvis bone, support the
bowel, the bladder and the uterus.
Two pelvic muscles do most of the
work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock.
The other is shaped like a triangle.
Exercises can be done while sitting, standing
or lying down.
Sets of exercises:
You should tighten the two major
muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor.
They are the "hammock" muscle and the "triangle"
muscle. Here are three methods to identify these
Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting
on the toilet. If you can do it, you are using
the right muscles.
Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas.
Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense
a ‘pulling feeling’, those are the right muscles
for pelvic exercises.
Lie down and put your finger inside your vagina.
Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from
coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger,
you are squeezing the right pelvic muscle.
in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of
3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 10
to 15 repeats each time you exercise.
- Exercising these muscles help you achieve voluntary control
of the pelvic floor.
- During delivery, these muscles are stretched due to the
passage of the baby. A strong and elastic pelvic
floor can reduce or prevent problems such as
sagging organs or leaking urine, which can occur
due to excessive stretching.
- These exercises help you to relax the muscles during
delivery also decreasing the need of episiotomy.
- These exercises will promote healing and will restore
muscle tone after your baby is born.
- Don't squeeze other muscles at the same time.
- Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or other
muscles. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put
more pressure on your bladder control muscles.
Just squeeze the pelvic muscles.
- Don't hold your breath.
- Do these exercises only after
passing urine (empty bladder).
- Squeeze your pelvic muscles tightly and hold on until
after you sneeze, lift, or jump. After you train
yourself to tighten the pelvic muscles for these
moments, you will have fewer accidents.
Women who should not exercise while being pregnant include
- Have experienced pre-term labour previously.
- Have obstetrical complications, including persistent
vaginal bleeding, incompetent cervix, ruptured
- Have an indication, through an ultrasound examination,
that the foetus is not growing as quickly as
- Have a history of medical problems such as high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart disease and thyroid
disease should exercise only with their doctor’s
- Initially, start
with 5 per exercise session.
- Next week, increase
to 7 – 8 each. Slowly to as many times as you
can per exercise session.
- Repeat this exercise
2 – 3 times / day.
- You can use three positions: lying, sitting, and standing.
You can exercise while lying on the floor, sitting
at a desk, or standing in the kitchen. Using
all three positions makes the muscles strongest.
- Weak pelvic muscles often cause
bladder control problems.
- Daily exercises can strengthen
- These exercises often improve
- Ask your doctor or nurse. Are
you squeezing the right muscles?
- Tighten your pelvic muscles before
sneezing, lifting, or jumping. This can prevent
pelvic muscle damage.
- Persistent bladder control problem
may be due to urinary infection or an excessively
loose pelvic floor. Your doctor will be able
to help you to deal with these.
Preparing For Child Birth:
are various relaxation and breathing techniques,
which lessen the discomfort and pain during labour.
These techniques require regular practice to be
perfect. Antenatal period is the best time to
Postpartum Exercises Begin?
Once the baby arrives, women generally are eager
to regain their pre-pregnancy figures.
If a woman has exercised regularly during
pregnancy, she is closer to her goal. However,
since pregnancy-related changes in bodily systems
(such as the cardiovascular system) persist for
about 4 to 6 weeks, a woman should let her body
be her guide. Women who have had a caesarean may
need to delay their return to exercise.
can start your exercise routine after consulting
Advantages : Tones the pelvic floor muscles
and improves the circulation. It fastens the healing
of the episiotomy wound.
Method : Lie on your back
with legs stretched. Slowly bend your feet bringing
your toes towards your body. You can feel your
calf muscle being stretched. Bring your feet to
the normal position.
Advantages: Prevents swelling of the
feet by improving the circulation.
Repetitions: 5 – 10 times
per exercise session
Method : You can do this exercise
by sitting or standing. Tuck in your abdominal
muscles. Hold them tightly for 5 seconds. Breathe
normally. Gradually increase the holding time
to 10 seconds.
Advantages : Restores the tone of the abdomen
Repetitions: 5 – 10 times per exercise
From day 2:
Method: Lie on your back with the knees
bent and feet flat on the ground. Arch your back
and press your buttocks against the ground. Then
relax the buttocks and press your back against
the ground, contracting the abdominal muscles.
Advantages: Restores the tone of the
Repetitions: 5 – 10 times per exercise
From day 3
Lie on your back with the knees bent and the feet
flat on the ground. Cross your arms over your
abdomen. Lift your head off the ground, while
exhaling, and press your abdomen with your palms.
Hold in this position for few seconds,
then inhale and relax.
Advantages: Restores the
tone of the abdomen muscles.
5 – 10 times per exercise session.
Sit up with your legs bent,feet flat on
the floor and arms folded in front.Exhale,while
gently tilting your pelvis forward, and
gradually leaning back till you feel your abdominal
muscles tighten. Hold for sometime, breathe normally.
Sit up straight while inhaling
Restores the tone of the abdominal muscles
5-10 times per exercises session.
Lie flat on the ground, with legs bent, feet flat
kept apart on the ground and palms rested on the
thighs. While exhaling, lift your head and shoulders
above the ground and reach your hands to the knees.
Hold for a count of 5. Relax slowly while inhaling.
the vertical muscles of the abdomen.
Repetitions: 5-10 times
per exercise session.
From 3rd week
Lie on one side on the ground keeping your hands
above the head and legs straight. Keeping your
lower leg straight,raise your upper leg and hand
to the ceiling. Touch your hand to the knee.Return
to your starting position.Do 10-15 times on each
Advantages: Helps in restoring
Repetitions : Do 5-10 times
on each side per exercise session
Method I: Lie on the back,
with the knees bent, feet flat on the ground and
hands behind the head. Slowly raise the head and
the shoulders above the ground and try touching
the elbows to the knees.
Method – II : Lie on the
back, with the knees bent, feet flat on the ground
and hands behind the head. Slowly raise the head
and the shoulders above the ground and try touching
the elbows to the outer side of a knee.
Advantages : Tones the abdominal muscles.
Repetitions : 5-10 times per exercise
Continue these exercises for the
next 2 months. You can also add walking briskly,
cycling and swimming to your schedule.
- Consult your doctor before adopting a regime.
- Start slowly.
- Stop exercising if you feel pain, giddiness, breathless
- Eat properly and enough.