You are pregnant, and for obvious reasons, are extremely thrilled about it! The thought of a new life growing inside you is exhilarating to say the least. You are being asked to be careful about your physical activities, your diet, your stress levels, so on and so forth. If your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9, that is, if you are a pregnant woman in the normal, healthy weight range, the concerns coming your way are limited and manageable. However, if your BMI exceeds this range, that is, if you are obese and pregnant, you are flooded with recommendations on weight control, physical activities and diet. You may wonder if these concerns are genuine. Yes, they are. Continue reading to know more.
Complications Arising During Pregnancy Due To Obesity
The hormonal imbalances arising due to excessive weight or obesity can lead to problems with ovulation, irregular menstrual cycles and fertility. In this situation, obese women find it more difficult to conceive than those in the normal weight range. This is where complications actually begin.
Obesity during pregnancy can lead to many tangible and real complications. Some of them are:
- Miscarriage: A research conducted by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom revealed that women who are overweight have a 29% increased chance of miscarriage than women in the normal weight range. The research also found that women who are obese have a 67% increased chance of miscarriage than women who have a normal weight. This throws lights on the possible linkage between obesity and miscarriage. Doctors also speculate that obese women who undergo treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or treatment for any assisted reproduction present a 14% to 30% greater chance of miscarriage than those undergoing these treatments and belonging to the normal weight range
- Preeclampsia: A study published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that obese women are have a greater risk for preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related problem with the placenta. Preeclampsia is exhibited through symptoms like high blood pressure and increased protein in the urine. This condition leads to diminished blood flow to the placenta, thus reducing the oxygen and nutrient supply to the developing fetus. Preeclampsia often leads to preterm birth
- Gestational diabetes: Several studies reveal the relationship between obesity and gestational diabetes. Obese women are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes which impacts the health of their baby along with their own, in the long run
- Gestational hypertension: Also described as essential chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension is high blood pressure and occurs in pregnant women after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Obese women, are at a greater risk of high blood pressure before during and after pregnancy.
- Cesarean section: An increase in the mother’s blood pressure during delivery could lead to a stroke depriving the baby of oxygen, thereby leading to fatal complications. To avoid taking this risk, doctors prefer performing a cesarean section on obese pregnant women suffering from hypertension and preeclampsia. Although a cesarean section is not a complication, the post-delivery recovery period is significantly greater than that in a normal delivery.
To beat all these unwarranted complications during pregnancy, obese women should engage in healthy eating habits and develop an exercise routine.
How Do Exercises Help Obese Pregnant Women Avoid Complications?
- A set routine and regular exercise keeps your body alert and energetic
- Exercise helps build muscle and bone. This helps you maintain your weight and build endurance
- Pregnancy brings along its fair share of problems such as constipation, nausea, bloating and body ache. Exercise makes you rise above these aches and pain, and helps alleviate your mood swings
But what are the different exercises that obese pregnant women should engage in, considering their problems with balance, heart rate, and flexibility?
5 Exercises That Help Obese Women Avoid Complications During Pregnancy
Obese pregnant women can begin with about 10 minutes of regular exercise that can extend up to 30 minutes.
- Walking: It is said that walking is the best workout that one can perform every day. It relieves your muscles and joints of all the built-up stress
- Swimming: Walking could lead to swelling in the feet of pregnant women. Especially if the woman is obese and preeclamptic. Swimming is a great exercise that helps in toning the muscles and building strength
- Yoga: Yoga helps you discover your center of mass, and thereby resolves problems with balance. The breathing, stretching and endurance exercises performed during a 30-minute yoga session prepare you for labor and childbirth
- Cycling: Cycling offers you a good aerobic and strength workout, especially if you are obese and pregnant
- Dancing: If you do take up dancing during pregnancy, you must ensure that it does not disturb your body’s balance. Hence slow jazz dancing or salsa are the recommended dance forms for obese pregnant women
Overdoing the routine, causing breathlessness, exhaustion, falls and bouncy or jerky motions could pose severe dangers for both, the mother and the baby. Hence, understanding the limitations of your body, while aiming to avoid complications during and after pregnancy is a pre-requisite to taking up exercises during pregnancy. Wish you a healthy and complication-free, beautiful pregnancy!
Did you indulge in any exercises to keep yourself fit and avoid complications in your pregnancy? Do share our experience in the comments section below.