Antenatal Exercises: Deep Breathing and Foot and Ankle Exercises

Antenatal exercises are an important part of the preparations for pregnancy. An active lifestyle with ample physical activity during pregnancy is extremely beneficial to the mother. This article is expected to inform expectant mothers about these aspects of antenatal care.

Apart from preventing excess weight gain and increasing endurance, antenatal exercises also improve circulation thus reducing the possibility of formation of clots in the veins of the lower limb, strengthening pelvic muscles thus reducing the incidence of tear and laceration of these muscles during labor and also prevention of urinary incontinence thereafter and prevention of backache.

The exercises in this article have been carefully selected to provide optimum benefit to pregnant women, while at the same time minimizing the chances of musculoskeletal injury. These exercises are usually taught in most antenatal classes and women who do not have access to these classes will benefit most from this resource.

Although these exercises are safe for all expectant mothers, it is still worthwhile to check with your health care provider especially if you have heart disease, respiratory illness like asthma, prior back problems, and hypertension.

Deep Breathing and Foot and Ankle Exercises

During pregnancy, there is the retention of fluid in the body. Excess retention of fluid during this time can lead to varicose veins, vulval veins, and cramps. Therefore it is advisable to rest with the legs in an elevated position. This is most easily achieved by keeping a small stool, just of enough height to keep one’s legs parallel to the ground.

Apart from this, pregnant women should do the following exercise at least 10 times a day.

  • Keep both keens and ankles relaxed. Now bend and stretch your ankles for 30-45 seconds.
  • After this make imaginary circles with your feet. You can make ten circles in one direction and then reverse and do ten more in the opposite direction.

This exercise will help prevent swollen ankles and reduce the incidence of varicose veins.

Deep breathing exercises are a very good way to strengthen the diaphragm and improve the oxygenation of the blood. This exercise is also very relaxing and is an effective pain-reducing technique. Doing these exercises 6-8 times a day will relax the mind and body and reduce anxiety while at the same time strengthening the diaphragm and improving oxygenation.

  • Start by emptying your lung completely.
  • Now close one nostril and take a deep breath through the other nostril. You must try to fill your lungs with as much air as possible. Hold for a few seconds. Breathe out through the same nostril.
  • Now repeat the process with the other nostril closed.
  • One must roughly hold their breath in full inspiration for six-second for optimum benefit.

Pregnancy is a time of joy as well as many misconceptions and being educated about the various facets of pregnancy will go a long way in improving the outcome. It is our endeavor to educate and inform women about the changes their body goes through during pregnancy and also inform them about the various disorders of pregnancy.

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