1.1 Background of the study.
During pregnancy the body experience dramatic physiological and psychological changes which is natural and to remain healthy, the pregnant woman must indulge in regular physical activities call exercise.1 The professional health workers need to carefully design physical exercise programme to enable the pregnant woman remain healthy. In country like Brazil, her Ministry of Health stipulates that in addition to consultation and prenatal care, breathing and relaxation techniques should be taught for better control of labour and general well-being (2). Different exercise programmes are available for pregnant mothers; these exercises include aerobic exercises such as dancing, walking and swimming. Another type is Kegel exercise; this involves tightening of pelvic muscles to control urine flow (3).
Exercise has been known scientifically and physically to promote blood circulation to the mother and the foetal vital organs such as the brain, liver and heart etc; exercise also improve pelvic bone and muscle tone thus enhancing normal safe delivery of baby during labour (5). Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort done to improve health, it is a physical or mental activity that is done to stay healthy or become stronger. Exercise session in antenatal clinic should be designed to stimulate interest in the physical changes occurring to promote body awareness and to facilitate physical and mental relaxation.
Heggard states that women who practiced more than one type of sports or leisure time physical activity had 24% of reduced risk of preterm delivery, which compared with women with no sports activity (12). It must be noted that before asking a group to perform antenatal exercise on the floor, the correct way of getting down and up again must be demonstrated side-lying in the coma position with pillows under arm and knee is usually comfortable position in pregnancy. The pregnant mothers should get up from lying by bending the knees, rolling on to one side then using the arms to push up into a sitting or kneeling position to prevent strains on both the back and the abdominal muscles. Muscles of good tone are more elastic and will regain their former length more efficiently and more quickly after being stretched than muscles of poor tone. Exercising the abdominal muscles antenatally will ensure a speed to normal postnatally, effective pushing in labour, and the lessening of back ache in pregnancy (13). Exercise during pregnancy are of utmost concern for most medical care giver, educators, the general public as well as pregnant mothers and their family (14). Regular and moderate exercise in early pregnancies is healthy for the mothers and their babies (7,15,16). Mother’s health physiotherapist is the ideal choice to teach the physical skills required or parenthood.17 However in areas where there is no physiotherapist available, midwives may find themselves responsible for physical preparation as well as parent education in antenatal classes or as one-to-one basis (5).
1.2 Statement of the problem.
Prenatal exercise is of benefit to every pregnant mother. Exercise can reduce the length of labour, shorten the recovery time and even help with post-partum weight management (5). The physiotherapists in the hospital always come to the clinic as early as possible but they usually meet only few pregnant mothers because they come late to the clinic for the exercise as they see little or no need for prenatal exercise. The purpose of this study is to study how pregnant mothers perceive usefulness of antenatal exercise as it is being performed in the antenatal clinics. There is need to find a way to change the perception of pregnant women about antenatal clinic through training, seminars and health talks on important of exercises in pregnancy and antenatal clinics.