Pregnant women advised to exercise to be fit for labour

On the occasion of Qatar National Sport Day, a senior health official from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is encouraging pregnant women to exercise and continue to do so throughout their pregnancy to remain fit for labour and recover physically faster after childbirth.

“As Qatar residents are being encouraged to exercise on National Sport Day, we will also like to advise pregnant women or those that just had their babies to take the opportunity of this notable event in Qatar to exercise their bodies and try to do so regularly in order to stay in shape and remain healthy,” said Dr Najat Khenyab, National Health Strategy lead for Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancies and senior consultant – Obstetrics/Gynaecology at Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC), HMC.
Dr Khenyab pointed out that staying active through regular physical activities such as walking could help pregnant women to have less back pain, pelvic pain, and control their weight gain. It could also prevent them from having obesity and gestational diabetics.
“Exercises during pregnancy, just as for everyone else, release endorphin hormones that help improve mood while diminishing stress and anxiety. Engaging in daily exercise will allow you to do your tasks with less effort and you will have more energy throughout the day. Also, exercising consistently during pregnancy will improve your quality of sleep and makes you feel more rested,” she said.
However, she cautions that it is always important to seek professional advice first before exercising. “While it is important for pregnant women to stay active throughout their pregnancy, it is equally advisable that they consult their attending physicians first to know if it is safe for them to exercise and what types of exercises they can engage in,” she added.
Fahima Yusuf, director of Nursing & Midwifery-Community at WWRC says exercising in pregnancy will improve the possibility of having a natural birth and reduce a woman’s risk of having a medical intervention.
“Women who exercise regularly before and during pregnancy and after having their babies are already on the way to maintaining good health for themselves and their babies. The goal of exercising while pregnant is to maintain optimum health for the development of the baby and to help adapt to the changes in the mother’s body. Likewise, if a woman who has recently had a baby exercises, along with eating balanced and healthy meals, this could promote the loss of excess weight she gained while pregnant and she could easily get back to her pre-pregnancy body,” she noted.
Noora al-Mudahka, chief of physiotherapy at HMC, said: “We recommend that pregnant women maintain a regular exercise routine throughout pregnancy to help them stay healthy, improve posture and decrease some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue. Our advice is to start slow exercise and take frequent breaks in between. As the days go on, they can increase the time they spend at each workout. Healthy pregnant women without any complications can aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day.”
According to al-Mudahka, walking is a simple but effective form of exercise that can be done almost anywhere and anytime. While exercising is good for the body, she advises pregnant women to avoid lying flat on their back (especially after the first three months of pregnancy); avoid exercising outdoors in hot or humid weather; drink plenty of water and fluids during and after exercising. Pregnant women should stop exercising if they get out of breath and can’t talk easily or if they start seeing signs of labour like contractions.

 

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