Column 27 - Prenatal Exercises

Original publication date: March 7, 1984

Well, winter came back last week, much to our surprise and disappointment. It is only the beginning of March, but the return to colder days won't be bothering me this week. As you read this I'll be soaking up the sun on a beach in Cuba.

Other than to evoke an escape to the sun, our winter has invited us to stay in our homes to do that which has become this year's vogue. Consummation for creation.

I know of eight women who are soon-to-be mothers. Of them a sister, sister-in-law, and cousin, all of whom have asked what to do to keep in shape that isn't too strenuous.

Prenatal exercising can be tricky business. High blood pressure can develop during a pregnancy, especially the latter part. Women who already have high blood pressure must be under close scrutiny by their doctors so the condition doesn't become severe or complicated. Becoming overtired or overworked doesn't do any good for the expectant mother or the fetus.

Because the woman is not only supporting herself, but the baby too, she must keep a careful watch that she is relaxed and living a fit lifestyle. This can be a difficult transition, a transition that should be made, as many women smoke, drink and lead sedentary lives.

A woman who is pregnant and has never done exercises cannot all of a sudden put on jogging shoes and jog like a whiz without becoming sick and possibly endangering the baby. The transition into a fit lifestyle has to be made as smoothly as possible, making it possible that the mother can move into more advanced excercising and sports if she chooses after the baby is born and her bodily functions return to normal.

The most important aspect of fitness for the pregnant women is flexibility. Sore lower backs, caused somewhat by the positioning of the baby and the added weight, and tired legs, also caused by the added weight, can be helped to the point of disappearance, by keeping the body limber and alive.

The whole body should be stretched and worked on each day, but the legs and lower back are the main concern for pregnant women.

Tired legs can be the downfall for many women. Remember seeing the pregnant woman on television being helped into a chair by her loving husband? Don't ever catch yourself in that position. The legs have tremendous muscles which should be used throughout the pregnancy. You should be able to walk with confidence by yourself into the hospital to have the baby.

Sit on the floor with a nice straight back and legs stretched out in front. Start by just pointing your toes for a few seconds, then flexing them (jutting the heels forward until they come off the floor). Open the legs slightly and try to touch the floor with your big toes by turning the feet in. Turn the feet out and try to touch the floor with the small toes. Now bring the soles of the feet together and bring your heels into your crotch. Gently, push down on your knees trying to get them to touch the floor, keeping your feet in the same position, lie on your back and try to touch your knees to the floor, keeping your lower back on the floor. Bring your knees up and together with feet flat on the floor. Do a pelvic tilt by pushing the small of the back into the floor and holding. Bring one knee into the chest and hug tightly. Change legs and do the same thing. Hug both legs into your chest and curl into a ball by putting your head to your knees.

A simple daily routine like this will help the nonexperienced exerciser toward a more pleasant birthing experience.

Copyright 2021 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.