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Walking during pregnancy: debunking myths


Many are the articles written about the benefits of walking during pregnancy. In fact, when a woman asks the specialist about what sport is recommended to do during pregnancy, it is often recommended that she walk.

However, I frequently meet women in the consultation or in childbirth classes, who tell me that walking does not feel very well, or that they have pain in the pubis, it bothers the lower back, it may be that have sciatica; and even so they continue to walk a lot, because they have recommended it, or have read it. There are even women, who are really 'touched' and cannot walk and feel guilty.

The benefits of physical exercise are well known, and of course walking is one of them, since it is a low-impact exercise on joints and pelvic floor, and it is also aerobic. The advantages that we will find are many:

- Increases self-esteem by minimizing depression and anxiety.

- Helps maintain an adequate rate of weight gain.

- Improves cardiovascular and muscular condition.

- Promotes postural correction.

- Reduces digestive discomfort.

- Reduces discomfort related to pregnancy: increased weight and volume, reduced coordination, apathy.

- Increases psychological well-being.

- Recovery after delivery is faster.

- Recovery of the weight before pregnancy is accelerated.

- Increase your energy and well-being levels.

- It enhances sleep quality.

- Serves as training for childbirth.

To notice its benefits, we usually recommend practicing it with a frequency of 3-4 times a week about 40-60 minutes; In this way we will achieve an increase in resistance, cardiovascular and respiratory capacity; but they do not work specifically on changes in the pregnant woman's body. In other words, these exercises are good for everyone, and not only during pregnancy.

We have to understand that although pregnancy is not a disease, a woman's body will change drastically in just 9 months:

- High weight gain (9-12 kg recommended, some more).

- Change in the center of gravity due to the increase in the abdomen.

- Increased lumbar lordosis (lower back).

- Decreased respiratory capacity, anemia in some cases.

- Joint instability, relaxin (a hormone that permeates the joints so that on the day of delivery the pelvis can have a greater range of motion) permeates all the woman's joints; making it prone to diastasis of the pubic symphysis, which is greatly aggravated if we walk.

All these changes make walking not the optimal exercise during pregnancy; and if the slightest discomfort appears, change to other aerobic exercises that provide the same benefits such as: swimming, elliptical, exercise bike.

In recent times, exercises have been incorporated that specifically target the pelvic floor, making the woman aware of the muscles that compose it, teach her to move, maintain the posture. These new disciplines incorporated in the prenatal period, will try to alleviate the discomfort secondary to the body changes of the pregnant woman (low back pain, constipation, insominus, joint pain ...), that is to say, it is a much more global and more specific work; It can be combined with the aerobic exercise mentioned above.

I am referring to prenatal Pilates, yoga for pregnant women, belly dance, aqua-gym, always coordinated by a midwife; or qualified professional for the management of the changes and peculiarities of a pregnant woman, trimester by trimester.

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