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Maternal Health Nursing - Antenatal Exercises | 12th Nursing : Chapter 5 : Maternal Health Nursing

Chapter: 12th Nursing : Chapter 5 : Maternal Health Nursing

Antenatal Exercises

Good muscle tone is maintained during labour and postnatal period.


Uses of Antenatal Exercise

·           Good muscle tone is maintained during labour and postnatal period.

·           Helps to reduce the backache.

·            Assist in effective pushing during labour.

Types of Antenatal Exercise

 Deep breathing exercise.

Breathing techniques is for pain relief during labour. Exhale before inhale is suggested.

 Abdominal breathing

 Lower coastal breathing

 Apical breathing

Back and Abdominal Exercise

Sit on a chair with your back against the seat back. Breathe normally, tightens the abdomen and then press the pelvis downwards to flattens your low back against the seat back. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.

Pelvic floor exercises

Kegels exercise is a special exercise squeeze the pubococcygeal muscle or 3 seconds relax for 3 seconds and squeeze again. It can be done 100 times twice daily for keeping the vagina toned and increase the strength of perineum to avoid birth injuries.

Sit on chair with your back against seat back.

Tightens the vaginal, urethral and anal muscles as if trying to withhold urination or defecation. Should do this exercise in a standing position.

Lower Limb Relaxation Exercises

            This exercise enhance the flexibility and strength of inner thighs and pelvic muscles. It helps to accustoms to the delivery position and prevent thigh spasm during delivery.

            Sit on table, low chair against a wall and spread your thighs sideways. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.

Foot and Ankle Exercises

            Sit on chair with your back against your seatback with one ankle and turn foot upwards and downwards. Each up and down is as one time, repeat 10 times.

            Repeat the ankle to draw inward and outward circle circular movement counted as one time.

            Repeat the same step at the other ankle.

            Ankle exercise helps to reduce leg swelling and varicose vein thus alleviating the problems of leg cramps.

Exercises and Activities to be avoided during Pregnancy

            Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing.

            Double leg raises, deep knee bends.

            Trunk rotation while standing.

            Exercises in hot and humid weather.

            Bouncing while stretching.

Medications during Pregnancy

            Avoid over the counter medications

            Inj. T.T. (Tetanus Toxoid) For preventing maternal and neonatal tetanus

Dosage schedule: Two doses 0.5 ml I/M in upper arm

First dose - As soon as woman registers for


Second dose - 4 weeks after the first dose even if it is after delivery

Inform that there may be slight swelling,

stiffness or pain at the injection site  Iron and folic acid supplementation

1 tablet / of IFA (100 mg elemental iron+0.5 mg of folic acid)

Duration: At least 100 days during pregnancy

Continue for 3-6 months in postpartum period

Folic acid supplementation (400 µg) upto 12 weeks of pregnancy to prevent Neural tube defects

            Regular consumption of iodized salt

            Calcium supplementation (500mg-1g / day)

Hazards during Pregnancy

Hazards affect the normal functions of the mother and unborn baby’s body.

They can cause birth defects in the unborn child. Hazards include physical factors, germs, tobacco, alcohol, health conditions of the mother, chemicals, and drugs.

Warning signs of Pregnancy  

            Vaginal bleeding  Persistent vomiting

            Chills and fever

            Sudden escape of clear fluid from vagina  Abdominal or chest pain

            Increase or decrease in fetal movement

The nurse must educate the women that if above symptoms are present they must come to the hospital immediately.

Minor disorders in pregnancy

            Morning sickness


            Varicose veins




            Vaginal discharge


These symptoms are common during pregnancy. There is no need for any special treatment, it will subside. But any of the above symptoms interferes in normal routine life then they need to contact the care provider.

Advice the antenatal mother in the above components to follow up till the next visit to the hospital.

Preparation for Birth

During the last few months of pregnancy the mother will be taught about the following

            Recognizing signs of true versus false labor

            When to go to the hospital

            Approaches to pain control

            Things to bring for labor and after

            Planning for children at home

            Care of the newborn


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