Effect of Physical Activity on Mood Disorders in Pregnant Women

Pregnancy is a unique as well as a beautiful period in the life of every woman. The significance of the lifestyle of a pregnant woman can’t be ignored. Regular physical activity is one of the elements that help to maintain normal mental and physical well-being. Pregnant women who regularly do physical activity have a lower chance of developing obesity and overweight.  The changes occur in the external appearance of pregnant women reduce their self-esteem. Low self-esteem is a risk factor for both mood disorders during pregnancy and postpartum.,

Physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in maintaining the proper psychophysical state of a pregnant woman.

Causes:

Mood changes during pregnancy can be caused by:

  1. Physical stresses, fatigue, changes in your metabolism, or by the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  2. Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood.
  3. Mood swings are mostly experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth.

Effects Of Physical Activity:

1.Exercises cause an increase in human body temperature. At the same time, the temperature of the brain enhances, which results in a feeling of general relaxation and tranquility.

2.After exercise, there is an increase in the level of b-endorphins, which are also responsible for a more positive frame of mind.

3.Physically and mentally active women (before and/or during pregnancy) have a lower risk of developing mood disorder compared to non-active women.

 

4.In addition, exercises have an impact on reducing both the level of anxiety and stress, as well as prevents cardiovascular disorders, improve the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, increase appetite, improve the quality of sleep, and oxygenate the body better the overall quality of life.

 

5.Physical exercises have an impact on maintaining proper muscular tone, reduce pain and prepare for the exertion during labor.

6.Helps to find balance physically and mentally.

7.Strengthens the body for childbirth

Why Good Posture Is Important In Pregnancy?

A good posture can be one of the very important contributions to a healthy pregnancy. Good posture is essential for good health. Proper posture and position can decrease low back and neck pain and fatigue. The wrong posture may not only lead to aches and pain but can lead to injury and harm to the baby.

Poor posture is very common during pregnancy as the baby grows abdominal muscles get stretched and leads to anterior pelvic tilt. Poor posture during pregnancy may cause pain even after the delivery. It is essential to maintain good posture throughout the pregnancy to ease body tension. A good posture will also aid the baby to establish into the proper birthing position.

Standing posture

  • Maintain the pelvic tilt, so that your lower back does not sway forward.
  • Chin tucked in. Ears should be in a straight line with your shoulders.
  • Avoid standing in one position for long durations.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoid high heels.
  • When doing any task where you are standing for a long time, such as ironing or doing dishes, put one foot up on a step stool or sit on a high stool. This will decrease the sagging of the spine.

Sitting posture

  • Always sit straight and your shoulders, back, and buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
  • Maintain the pelvic tilt and avoid slouching.
  • Sit into a chair so that the length of your thighs is supported by the chair.
  • The knee is in level with your hips.
  • Do not cross your legs that lead to a decrease in circulation.

Lying Posture

  • Best sleeping posture during pregnancy is sleeping on the side.
  • Place the pillow under your abdomen to get relief from back pain.
  • Pillow under abdomen will help to support the weight of the uterus.
  • Place a cushion or a pillow behind your back for support.
  • In case of heartburn during night propping your upper body with a pillow.

Pregnancy Exercises – Complete Guide And Types

Scared about labor? Does the fear of post-pregnancy weight bother you? Are you anxious about back pain related issues during pregnancy? We have got you covered with our complete guide on Pregnancy Exercises.

Pregnancy is all about 9 months of preparing to fall in love for a lifetime. Giving birth to a child is the most profound initiation of spirituality a woman can have. But along with that, it is a very stressful, annoying and challenging time for a mom to be. Firstly, as the baby grows, the muscles of your abdomen tend to lose strength. The weakening of the core, which is one of the most important parts of your body that holds the weight of the baby, gives rise to multiple problems like back pain, urinary leakage, pelvic pain and post-pregnancy sagging of the tummy. At the same time, pregnancy is the time to cradle all the structural, hormonal, emotional and behavioral changes in your body. As it is said that it’s not just the baby that grows, a lady grows into a mother as well. Making a few alterations in your daily routine can help you to have a smooth pregnancy.

Some people say that exercising during pregnancy especially abdominal strengthening is not safe for the baby. But there is no such proven theory which justifies the same. In fact, keeping up with the daily exercise routine is very beneficial and healthy for the mother as well as the baby. It has several advantages.

Advantages Of Abdominal Strengthening During Pregnancy

  • It helps to alleviate low back and pelvic pain
  • Improves blood circulation. Thus, prevents leg cramps and swelling
  • Avoid diastasis recti
  • Get back to the pre-pregnancy shape quicker

Secondly, breathing is something we barely notice. But it holds a very extensive role while you are expecting your little bundle of joy. Lungs always have a certain amount of air inside them known as the residual volume.

Advantages Of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy

  • Helps you to stay calm with a feeling of refreshment.
  • During normal delivery or labor pain, deep breathing can amazingly lower anxiety and diminish tension during contractions.
  • Enhanced blood circulation and oxygen supply to the little one.

Now, that you know how important it is to exercise and practice effective breathing techniques in order to achieve desired results. You must be thinking how to get started and what all should be done. If you were engaged into some physical activity or any exercise routine before conceiving then you should definitely continue it but in moderation. High-intensity workouts should be avoided. Low impact aerobic activity combined with meditation and core strengthening is the best plan to follow.

Basic Core Strengthening Exercises During Pregnancy

Abdominal Bracing

Lie down straight on your back and tuck your tummy in engaging your core. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and relax.

Wood Chop – Combined Movement Strengthening

  • Engage the core.
  • Stand with shoulder-width apart with feet gripping the ground firmly.
  • Hold onto the ball with both hands. Squat down with weight equally distributed on both feet and make sure that the spine is kept neutral.
  • Stand up holding the ball and rotate your body towards the opposite side taking your arm diagonally upwards.
  • And repeat.

Bird Dog Exercise

  • Start with a quadruped position i.e. all four limbs in contact with the ground. Brace the core.
  • Raise one arm and give an extension to the opposite leg. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat on both sides
  • If you feel that you are not able to balance yourself properly while performing both the movements simultaneously, you can isolate both of them.

Plank

  • This is the safest and the most important exercise to be performed during pregnancy. It will help you to strengthen your core like no other exercise.
  • Start with the quadruped position. Keep your shoulders and elbows in alignment with hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your hips and knees in order to bring your body in the plank position. Don’t hold your breath. Take deep breaths and try to hold this position according to your comfort but increase the hold time slowly and gradually.

Standing Crunches

  • Stand with feet wide and hands clasped at the back of your head.
  • Lift your leg and bring down your elbow diagonally making an attempt to touch your elbow with your knee
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Perform it for 10 – 15 times each side

Now, that you know the basic abdominal strengthening exercises to be performed during pregnancy. You should definitely take an expert opinion from a physiotherapist as pregnancy is different for everyone. A position that is safe and the best for one lady may be a complete ‘no-no‘ for the other.

Also, you should combine these exercises with normal walking or swimming along with deep breathing exercises.

Breathing exercises to be performed during pregnancy

Slow Deep Breathing

  • Relax. Concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath and relax.
  • Inhale(from the nose) and exhale (from your mouth). Make sure that the exhalation time is more than the inhalation time.
  • You should practice it in a way that if you are taking in air for 5 seconds your exhalation time should be more than 15 seconds.
  • It will not only help you to relax but also improve blood circulation and manage contractions during labor.

Breathing From Your Stomach

  • You can perform this exercise while lying down or sitting.
  • While you breathe in an attempt to enlarge your stomach with air and exhale.
  • You can also keep some light object over the tummy in order to make sure that you are doing the exercise properly. While you take in air the object should raise up and while you exhale the object should go down.

Breathing From The Chest

  • After a few minutes of breathing from the belly, you can start breathing with the chest. Instead of blowing your tummy, you need to concentrate more on expanding your chest, side to side and front and back.
  • You can perform this for a few minutes depending upon your comfort and it should be alternated with stomach breathing

All these exercises will help you to have a comparatively smooth and happy pregnancy. Once you have delivered and as soon as your little gem is handed over to you all the pains vanish away as the happiness of embracing your baby in your arms is above all the difficulties you faced.

But the ground reality strikes upon you after a few days or weeks, when you observe your sagging tummy and stretch marks. As I have already mentioned, that pregnancy is all about embracing all the changes as they are the footprints of your baby. You can deal with the post-pregnancy weight with a few exercises. You can start these exercises once the stitches have been removed in case of C – section and a few days after a normal vaginal birth.

Exercises To Be Performed After Pregnancy

Kegel’s Exercises

  • This exercise mainly focuses on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Attempt to squeeze your anal muscles in a way that you are trying to avoid passing stool.
  • Hold it for 5-10 seconds and relax. Don’t hold your breath while performing this exercise.
  • You can do it while sitting or lying down.

Bridging

  • Lie down straight on your back
  • Bend your knees with arms along the body and palms facing down
  • Lift your back up and hold for 5 – 10 seconds
  • Repeat it 5- 10 times
  • You can progress this exercise by lifting one leg while maintaining the same position.

 

Planks

As described above

Push-Ups

  • Gaining upper body strength and tone is very important after pregnancy as babies can actually be very heavy.
  • Start with baby push-ups or modified push-ups and later you can accomplish complete full-fledged push-ups.

Exercises can really help tremendously to recoup after childbirth. Whenever you feel that your body is ready to start exercising, it should be kept in mind not to overdo it. It is good if you feel great after pregnancy but doesn’t neglect the fact that your body has undergone multiple changes and it is definitely not as strong as it used to be.

Go slow and achieve your targets patiently. Get back into shape the physio way.

Tips To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

Back pain during pregnancy can be an extremely debilitating condition for a would-be mother as a female’s body is already going through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Back pain further deteriorates the already stressful situation. In this article we will go through some easy tips than can help in providing relieve from back pain during pregnancy. There are many factors due to which back pain occurs. The major ones are listed below.

 

What is Causes of Back Pain?

There are many factors due to which back pain occurs. The major ones are listed below.

  • Postural Changes

Tension on your back muscles during pregnancy is the root source of back pain. Many postural adjustments are made by the body to support the exponentially increasing weight of the uterus. Would be mother feels relieved on leaning backward which further overstresses the muscles leading to pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the back.

  • Pregnancy Hormones

A mother’s body prepares itself for an easy passage for the baby by releasing a hormone called Relaxin which loosens up the ligaments around the birth canal. Thus, making them much more elastic and flexible. On the contrary, it leads to back pain as joints tend to become hypermobile.

How to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy?

There are a few tips that can really help you to get through this challenging time in your life:

Adopt Good Posture

  • Proper body mechanics should be maintained so that minimal load is placed on the back. You should always stand with chin up, chest out with shoulders back and ear lobes aligned with the shoulders. Make sure that you have a wide stance and avoid locking your knees to prevent hyperextension. Most importantly, avoid tilting your pelvis forward or backward by squeezing your buttocks and belly inwards and upwards.
  • Bodyweight should be balanced equally on both feet. Ward off overstraining one side of the body. Keep changing the positions in order to refrain a certain group of muscles from being overexerted.
  • Rectify your style of sitting. Sit in a way that your back is glued to the chair with shoulders held backward and lower back firmly supported. If in case, no back support is available sit at the edge of the chair with your back slouched completely.
  • Try to keep your tummy tucked in and back straight while changing positions.
  • You can use the maternity belt while traveling. Excessive use of the belt will make you dependent on the belt. Therefore, making your musculature weaker.
  • Always bend your knees while lifting up objects. Don’t bend forwards completely. Avoid dragging and lifting heavy objects.

Sleep The Right Way

  • Always sleep on the left side in order to increase the blood supply to your baby. Prefer to keep your knees and legs bent with a pillow in between.
  • Avoid sleeping straight on your back.

Appropriate Footwear

  • Avoid high heels.
  • Go for flat shoes in order to have a good support.
  • Good arch support shoes will definitely be your best friends.

Choose The Right Mattress

  • A firm mattress will provide you the optimum support required for your back during pregnancy.

Diet

  • You must be thinking of how diet plays an important role in tackling pain. But a balanced diet and proper nutrition play a very important role in your pregnancy. Pregnancy is a very stressful period for your body and your body needs more of everything as it becomes fragile and vulnerable to many problems.
  • Maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
  • Concentrate on nutrition rather than calories.
  • Add fruits, green vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids, multivitamin, iron and calcium supplements.

Physical Exercise

  • Always engage yourself into some monitored physical exercise routine in order to maintain the strength of your muscles.
  • Talk to a physiotherapist to guide you regarding pelvic floor and core strengthening exercises in order to have an easy labor, avoid urinary incontinence and getting back into shape quicker.

Bonus Tip

Get plenty of rest but yes, don’t be lethargic. Eat moderately in proportions. Stay happy and stress-free. Enjoy your pregnancy. The mother inside you grows along with the development of your baby. Have a blissful pregnancy!