Motivating factors are: women’s motivation to exercise, previous experience, current fitness level, health and gestation. Depending on this a physiotherapist can prescribe exercise in 4 ways:
1. Teaching specific exercise as a part of an ante-natal class.
2. Conducting specifically designed exercise classes for pregnancy.
3. Advising on continuation of sport and physical activity.
4. Prescribing exercises as a component of treatment for musculoskeletal problems.
Benefits of exercises
Maintains cardiovascular fitness.
Decreases physical problems. E.g. Backache.
Strengthens specific muscles in preparation for pregnancy and labour.
Maintains muscle length and flexibility.
Assists in maintenance of healthy weight range.
Increases body awareness and control.
Improves co-ordination, balance, rhythm, breath awareness and control.
Reinforces principles of relaxation.
Improves physical well-being and therefore decrease fatigue.
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Increases endurance and stamina.
Provides social interaction.
Assists post-natal recovery.
Contraindications to Exercises during Pregnancy
Diseases of the CV, respiratory or renal systems.
History of miscarriage, premature labour, cervical incompetence.
Vaginal bleeding or fluid loss.
Abnormal placental function or position.
Decrease foetal movements.
Breech presentation in third trimester.
Reinforcement of the principles of physiotherapy antenatal education(e.g. relaxation, breath awareness, back care). Ability to modify exercises for each women’s individual problems (e.g. CTS). Ability to design exercises which strengthen or stretch the muscle groups affected by the biomechanical changes in pregnancy. Inclusion of pelvic floor exercises and avoidance of strain on it. Carefully adapt and monitor exercises to the women accordingly. Development of camaraderie between women. Social interaction between the women. Medical assistance readily accessible.