Young Parents Team
Who says you should put your feet up when you’re expecting a baby? That only makes you more tired, says senior physiotherapist Caroline Chua with the rehabilitation department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
According to guidelines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, being active for at least 30 minutes daily can help you have a smoother pregnancy. It may improve your ability to cope with labour and get back in shape faster, too.
To get you started, she shows you how to ease leg cramps and chest tightness, as well as improve your posture, with easy stretches to do at home.
NECK AND SHOULDERS (See picture above)
Step 1 Sit upright on a chair or fitball, keeping your feet flat on the floor.
Step 2 Keep one arm down by your side. Bring your other arm over your head and gently pull it down until your ear touches your shoulder, or as close as you can. Hold the position for 10 seconds, then relax and repeat in the opposite direction. Do 10 repetitions.
Step 1 Sit on the chair or fitball, with your legs spread comfortably to stabilise yourself.
Step 2 Extend your arms behind you, with fingers interlocked and elbows straight. Keep your body straight. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.
Step 1 Stand behind a chair. Keep your feet hip-width apart with your right foot forward.
Step 2 With both hands resting on the back of the chair for support, bend your right knee slightly and stretch out your left leg behind. Both legs should be flat on the floor.
If you don’t feel a gentle stretch over the calves, bring your left leg farther back. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions and switch legs.
Step 1 Sit on the chair or fitball, with legs spread comfortably to stabilise yourself.
Step 2 Fold your right arm behind your head. Use your left hand to push the elbow of your left arm down gently.
Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then relax and repeat with your left arm. Do 10 repetitions for each arm.
QUADRICEPS (FRONT THIGH MUSCLES)
Step 1 Stand behind a chair.
Step 2 With your right hand resting on the back of the chair for support, hold on to your left ankle and gently pull back until your kneecap points towards the ground. Keep your foot relaxed.
Hold the position for 10 seconds, then repeat the sequence with your other leg. Do 10 repetitions.
(Photo: Young Parents)