I am finally in the last stretch of my third trimester. It’s a bitter-sweet roller-coaster ride at the moment, lots of anxiety as well as panic. Panic that I haven’t been as active as I would want to or sometimes panic that perhaps I have done too much. If this feeling is as common as my doctor says, it is then you will need some key pointers that I found to be quite useful during my ninth-month journey. It is very important though that you check with your doctor often on dos and don’ts, and equally vital that you listen to the body, it’s always saying something to you.
1. Simple stretches help ensure easier delivery: In the first trimester, opt for standing yoga postures as they help strengthen the leg muscles, improve circulation, increase energy and can also help reduce leg cramps.
2. Do not overstretch the abdomen: The emphasis of your exercises or stretches should be on the shoulders and the upper back and not on the abdomen. Do not do exercises that put pressure on the abdomen and difficult moves during the advanced stages of pregnancy. Avoid any exercises that will put you in an upside-down position. It is also not advised to practise yoga postures from the tenth through the fourteenth week of pregnancy.
3. Relax with breathing techniques: The second and third trimester is the time to relax so draw energy from breathing techniques. They will help you deal with emotional changes and relax the mind completely.
4. Staying happy is the key: It is important for the baby too. Meditation or prayer will help you stay relaxed and cheerful. You can meditate on your own or try a guided meditation online. Also, take time out to meet friends, watch a good comedy and listen to some soothing music.
5. Fix routine for meals, exercise and sleep: Set a daily schedule for yourself during pregnancy – pick a time that suits you and stick to it. Keep some time aside every day as meditation time! Go for daily morning walks, followed by some gentle exercise or a refreshing swim in the pool. Daily exercise has greater benefits in strengthening the body and mind rather than sporadic ventures. In the latter half of pregnancy, it may not be easy to sit or stand continuously. Listen to your body and only do as much as you comfortably can.
6. Sit with the back straight and chin up: As the baby grows bigger, its weight is felt more and more on the back and legs. To avoid back pain, it is a good idea to keep your spine, head and neck aligned. Pay attention to how you stand, sit or walk as every posture makes a difference. When you stand, distribute your body weight equally on both feet. Check if you tend to lean more towards one side. Regular practice of yoga postures can help improve your posture and body balance.
7. Eat healthy: Lots of green, leafy salads, fruits and water will keep constipation and cramps at bay. A light and easy to digest vegetarian diet is preferable. Consume plenty of yoghurt and milk to keep the calcium levels up. Contact an ayurvedic doctor to know what suits you best.
Points to remember:
• Listen to your body carefully. If you feel any discomfort, stop. You will probably need to modify each pose as your body changes.
• A qualified prenatal fitness instructor should customise your fitness routine to suit the stage of your pregnancy.
• Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester; it can reduce blood circulation to the uterus.
• Avoid exercises that stretch the muscles too much. You are more at risk for strains, pulls and other injuries right now because of the pregnancy hormone relaxing, which softens and relaxes joints and connective tissue.
• From the second trimester, when your centre of gravity starts to shift, do all standing poses with your heel against the wall or use a chair for support to avoid losing your balance and risking injury to yourself or your baby.
• While twisting, move from the shoulders and back, rather than the waist. This will help to avoid putting pressure on your abdomen. Twist only as far as it feels comfortable and take note that deep twists are not advisable in pregnancy.
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