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Essay on Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy

Date:  2021-05-25 23:42:26
5 pages  (1326 words)
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Most people perceive that the pregnancy period is a period to relax and take part in minimal movements. However, this is not the case as physical activity for pregnant women is essential in regards to their health and also the health of the babies. Maternal care is important and tends to be the most sensitive part of human growth and development. Therefore, physical activity is essential in all aspects of life for it ensures that the physiological processes are fit in addition to the cardiorespiratory fitness such that issues regarding obesity and other comorbidity issues are eliminated and hence making the body healthy for the longest time. Studies indicate that physical activity, when one is pregnant, has plenty of benefits for women when compared to the associated risks (Currie, 2013). However, it is important to note that due to the sensitivity of pregnancy in regards to fetal needs, and both physical and anatomic transformations, modifications have to be made on the exercise programs. It is advisable for women with easy pregnancy to take part in aerobic exercises and exercises that bring about strength. The exercises should also take place after giving birth (Currie, 2013). Exercise and physical activity is important during and after pregnancy.

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The description of physical activity can be the movement of the body through muscle contraction such that the body loses a significant amount of fat and maintains healthiness for a longer period of time. It is advised for women that practice healthy lifestyles such as consuming a healthy diet, doing exercises and not taking any alcohol or smoking to continue practicing such behavior while those that do not practice such habits to use the pregnancy period to begin leading healthy lives (Kramer & McDonald, 2006). Exercise has to do with a physical movement that is structured and incorporates repetitive movements for the purpose of improving physical fitness. It is identified to be the most essential aspect when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle such that complications are not experienced late in life. Most pregnant women that engage in physical activity have it easy during delivery when compared to those that do not exercise (Kramer & McDonald, 2006).

Pregnancy is associated with various changes in the physical and anatomical aspects. The aspects should be considered when one wants to take part in any exercise. Among the distinctive changes that occur during pregnancy include a change in the positioning of gravity that present frequent occurrences of lordosis and also increase in weight. Therefore, when the body is trying to adjust to the increased weight, tension in the spines and joints take place. According to analysis, sixty percent of pregnant women complain of pain at their lower backs. Other changes include an increase in heart rate, stroke volume, the output of cardiac and blood volume in addition to the decrease in resistance associated with the vascular muscles. It is worth noting that when the back and muscles are strengthened, the risk of experiencing pain in the lower back is minimized (Russo, 2015).

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NIHCE), medical practitioners have the responsibility to advice pregnant women because participation on strengthening exercise and recreational physical activities are essential and safe; women that do not exercise need to begin to prevent complications as those that exercise experience minimum challenges (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2010). The analysis also indicates that women that frequently engage in aerobic exercise are physically fit when compared to their counterparts (Russo, 2015). The perspective is that exercise provides a lot of benefits to pregnant women. Some of the benefits include; minimizing of pain and discomfort, lowering the chances of getting varicose veins or experiencing swelling; maintaining proper weight and fitness in addition to increasing the strength of the body. Other benefits include; reducing stress, and any form of anxiety reduces the risk of getting hypertension, minimizes urinary continence, and also lessens fatigue. Most importantly, women that frequently exercise have short labour periods do not have to undergo a caesarean section and also heal quickly. Also, there are some activities that pregnant women are advised not to undertake. They include; exercise that involves standing still and lying flat on their back especially when two weeks have passed; activities such as gymnastic and horse riding that risk falling down; running for more than 2500 meters and also scuba diving (Russo, 2015).

Recommendations for exercise for pregnant women include recreational activities, motivational counseling, and also having an individualized exercise program. For the recreational activities, women should engage in activities that interest them such that they feel relaxed and comfortable when doing them (Lewis & Kennedy, 2011). Some of the activities include swimming, dancing, jogging, stationary cycling, pregnancy yoga, and also brisk walking. However, as stated earlier, activities that risk falling or possible strain on the belly should be avoided (Currie, 2013).

In regards to motivational counseling, most women fear that they may endanger their babies when exercising such that they imagine of scenarios such as falling or positioning the unborn baby during exercise. It is required for medical practitioners to advice the women on the basic advantages of exercises and also on the fact that lack of exercise may result in several complications. The possible recommendation for women with the fear of exercising is to advise them to begin with little exercises such as walking, cycling and also taking part in ante natal classes (Lewis & Kennedy, 2011).

An individualized exercise program entails a specific program that aligns with the needs of a woman as the pregnancy experience tends to differ. The exercise may involve twenty to thirty minutes a day whereby a woman exercises regularly. It is worth noting that women who experience complications in pregnancy should take part in exercises when pregnant and after giving birth (Currie, 2013). Exercises that involve a long period of time should be carried out in environments that are conducive in regards to air conditioning, adequate hydration and also intake of caloric. A sensitive population involves women that are obese. For this population, it is advisable for the women to take part in frequent exercises such that they curb the weight gain associated with pregnancy and also lessen the risk of suffering from hypertension and high blood pressure. An individualized exercise program keeps them on toes such that they acquire the discipline of exercising regularly even after giving birth. It is worth noting that proper diet is also associated with physical fitness. Pregnant women are advised to take in nutritious foods or rather balanced diets for the purpose of getting strength, adequate development of the fetus and also for maintenance of the bodys physiological, process (Currie, 2013).

As stated earlier, exercise and physical activity are important during and after pregnancy. Physical fitness is essential in regards to the health of the women and the unborn child. It is recommended for medical practitioners to advice women on the significance of exercising, and also provides recommendations on the types of exercises that the women may engage in.


Currie, S., Sinclair, M., Murphy, M. H., Madden, E., Dunwoody, L., & Liddle, D. (2013). Reducing the Decline in Physical Activity during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Behaviour Change Interventions. PLoSONE, 8(6), e66385. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066385

Kramer, M. S., & McDonald, S. W. (2006). Aerobic exercise for women during pregnancy (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3. doi: DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000180.pub2.

Lewis, B. A., & Kennedy, B. F. (2011). Effects of Exercise on Depression During Pregnancy and Postpartum: A Review. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 5(4), 370-378. doi:10.1177/1559827610392891

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2010). NICE public health guidance 27: Dietary interventions and physical activity interventions for weight management before, during and after pregnancy. London. management-before-during-and-after-pregnancy-pdf

Russo, L. M., Nobles, C., Ertel, K. A., Chasan-Taber, L., & Whitcomb, B. W. (2015). Physical Activity Interventions in Pregnancy and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 125 (3), 576-582.

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