KOCHI: Miss Thrissur Fitness 2018 Vipitha Santhosh who won the title when she is heavily pregnant has sent vibes to those young married women who want to conceive soon. Such strenuous activities like weight lifting or rigorous workouts at the gym are advisable for pregnant women or are they supposed to go by the age-old tradition that intensive exercise is unsafe during pregnancy. Vipitha, who won the championship in model physique category by lifting 50 kg weight, has no concerns over continuing her rigorous workout schedule and the customised diet plan.
Despite being cleared by her obstetrician and performed under the watchful eye of her husband Santhosh, a fitness coach, the performance of the mother-of-two raised a few eyebrows. “Pregnancy is a special phase in a woman’s life, but it should not be a reason to be idle and unfit. What my doctor asked is whether I have been doing the same intensity workout for long,” she said. “The doctor allowed me to continue my regular workout schedule, from 9 AM to 12.30 PM, and didn’t object my decision to contest in the championship. I have been asked to customise the workout and pay attention to the posture and alignment so that the abs and pelvic region are not strained.”
Vipitha has been following a less-carbohydrate diet for few years but included more carbs during the trimester. “My diet mainly consists of fresh and dry fruits, juice, oats and chapati and also taking multivitamin, iron and folic acid. It is the daily workout which keeps me fresh and active emotionally and physically. I hope I will be able to come back to the gym at least two weeks after the delivery,” Vipitha added. However, the majority of medical experts do not find favour with the concept of weightlifting or long hours of vigorous exercise during pregnancy.
Dr Sherly Mathen, head of the department of gynaecology, Aster Medcity, Kochi, observed that though healthy diet and regular moderate exercise are helpful for pregnant women, it is better to avoid strenuous gym workout, especially if they are not used to it. “According to scientific research findings, pregnant women engage in weightlifting or rigorous workouts causing strain to hip and abs areas will have more chances for preterm delivery. More care is needed during the trimester. During pregnancy, ovary and the placenta will secrete a hormone called relaxin which relaxes the muscles ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix to prepare for childbirth. Hence, women at the end of their pregnancy should be more careful while lifting heavy objects,” said Dr Mathen.
The body undergoes trem-end-ous strain and changes during pregnancy, and the gy-naecologists usually discuss the pros and cons of exercise with the carrying women. “Generally, no obstetrician will advise intensive exercise, especially after seven months of pregnancy. But in Vipitha’s case being a fitness instructor, her body might be tuned to that. It does not mean that all carrying women can follow such exercise regime," said Dr Soge Kurien, the senior gynaecologist at VG Saraf Memorial Hospital, Kochi.
"Some women can tolerate strenuous works while few others will be bleeding even by lifting light objects. I usually recommend mild to moderate exercises like walking and swimming. Preterm delivery, bleeding and separation of the placenta are some of the major risk factors of the strenuous workout.” According to Ayurveda, it is the age-old tradition of doing domestic chores which is ideal for carrying women. “During the first trimester, rest is advised. After three months, mild exercise like walking and doing household activities can be done. But gym workout should be strictly avoided,” said Dr Deepa Purushothaman, an Ayurveda doctor.