Controlled exercise 'could help train muscles for labour'

17 January 2011

Expectant mothers, including those who become pregnant through IVF fertility treatment, should maintain a healthy lifestyle and do gentle exercise to keep active during pregnancy.

This is according to expert Charlotte Watts, who suggested that pre-natal classes such as yoga can go some way towards preparing muscles for the strain of pregnancy and help a woman cope with her changing body.

Ms Watts, a nutritional therapist, yoga teacher and co-author of The De-Stress Diet, said: "A dedicated pregnancy yoga practice from 12 weeks into pregnancy helps to protect the lower back by creating support with the abdominals - also important for efficient contractions during labour."

She added that muscles need to be strong and aligned to allow a woman to hold the quickly growing weight of a foetus.

Yoga can also help to encourage breathing patterns that could come in useful during the labour process, the expert continued.

Pregnant women should avoid doing any strenuous exercise such as scuba diving, skiing and anything that poses a risk of falling.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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