Breathing exercises and more: Your must-practice exercises for childbirth

Pregnancy demands extra care and special efforts to stay healthy. Every pregnant woman should regularly perform some breathing exercises. The following exercises can improve oxygen intake, circulation and support the body's normal functioning so as to provide better nutrition and oxygen to the baby.

Pranayama Pranayama is an exercise that allows you to develop a natural, controlled deep breathing pattern. It can actually help you breathe well, with an equal balance of oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled, which can be very helpful for you and your child. Take deep breaths and exhale at the same pace.

Alternate Deep and Shallow Breathing Relax your body in a comfortable sitting position. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly, taking the same amount of time for each. Now open your mouth wide and inhale air from your mouth while simultaneously counting up to five. Repeat the same cycle at least 20 times, several times a day.

Breathing from your Stomach Get into a comfortable sitting position and breathe deep from your lower abdomen, filling your belly with air. Breathe out the carbon dioxide at the same pace. This improves oxygen intake and stimulates blood circulation.

Breathing from the Chest Stand upright and keep your feet parallel to each other. Keep your mouth closed and take a deep breath counting till 10. Place your hands on your chest. However, take care that you don’t press too hard on your chest. As you inhale, feel your hand move outwards as your lungs expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Take as much time to exhale as you did while inhaling fresh air.

Apart from breathing exercises, you should be doing some physical exercise to keep your body fit and healthy too. These are some safe activities you can try out. However, check with your doctor first and get her consent before indulging into exercises of any sorts.

Swimming: Swimming and water aerobics are the ideal pregnancy workout. In the water, you weigh less than you do on land, so you’ll feel lighter and more agile. A dip in the pool may also help relieve nausea, sciatic pain and puffy ankles.

Walking: This is the easiest exercise to fit into your busy schedule, and it’s a workout you can continue right up until your delivery date.

Running: Experienced runners can continue to run during pregnancy. Stick to level terrain or a treadmill, and never overdo it.

Group dance or aerobics classes: Light aerobics and dance workout classes like Zumba are a great way to increase your heart rate and get your endorphins flowing. As your abdomen expands, avoid any activities that might cause you to become off-balance.

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