Strengthening your tummy muscles will help you carry the weight of your baby, bolster your back and help you push your baby out. But take care how you do it. After 16 weeks, you shouldn’t be lying on your back doing the typical crunching exercises, as it will constrict the fl ow of blood to the placenta. But you can strengthen your abdominal muscles at any time, whether standing, sitting, balancing on a birthing ball or even on all fours. All you have to do is sit or stand tall, then imagine a piece of thread pulling your belly button into your spine. Do one big contraction or lots of quick pulses to exercise the muscles. “Pilates helped me build up my tummy muscles and made me stronger for labour,” says Shaista Parkar from Hyderabad, mum to eight-month-old Wajid.
True, you may have to be a bit more inventive than normal, but your bump needn’t get in the way of a good love sesh. Find out what feels comfortable, even if that involves a bit of trial and error. As your bump gets bigger, you may find lying on your side works best. “If I want to be on my front, putting a pillow under me helps take the weight off my bump,” says Shilpi Wadhwa from Delhi, who is 33 weeks pregnant.
Although sex won’t harm your baby, if you bleed afterwards it’s always best to consult your gynac. And if you’re not up for intercourse, don’t beat yourself up – every woman is different.
For a good night’s sleep, exercise during the day and get some fresh air so that when you go to bed, you’re nice and relaxed.Avoid eating a big meal before you go to bed, particularly if you suffer from heartburn. “I found a warm milk drink and lots of pillows supporting my bump helped,” says Lyla Babbar from Chandigarh, mum to two-weekold Kaya.
Some women also swear by popping a pillow in between their legs (ahem… ) to ease the strain on their back in bed. Try it, it really works! ■