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Pregnancy Fitness, Filipino style

"Getting fit for you and baby"
By: Darleth Romana-Bantiles, MDPregnancy Fitness, Filipino style

Women in the Philippines are fortunate to have effective advocates of pregnancy fitness. One of these advocates, Dr. Ma. Stephanie Fay S. Cagayan, an OB-Gynecologist of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, developed “Sayuntis”.

This form of exercise for pregnant women is a combination of belly dance, yoga, and other fun routines involving deep concentration, abdominal movement, and isolation of muscles like those usually taught in childbirth preparation classes. Its name came from two Tagalog words: sayaw and buntis, which mean “dance” and “pregnant” respectively. But more than a dance or fitness routine, Sayuntis also draws out a pregnant woman’s inner beauty, taps into her femininity, and helps remind mothers-to-be that pregnancy is both a wonderful and an empowering experience, according to its official website.

Sayuntisis inspired by indigenous dances like the pangalay, a native dance of the Samal and Tausug communities in Jolo, Sulu during the pre-Islamic and pre-Christian times. It also involves the Japanese principle of Hara, the term for belly that is the core energy centered in the abdomen. Together with other pregnancy fitness advocates and dance instructors, Dr. Cagayan is promoting it as a holistic approach to maternal health and wellness.

Feminine and fab while on the family way

Pregnancy is one of, if not the greatest, experience that a woman may have. It is certainly not a walk in the park, but a good mindset is that the design of the female body is to accommodate infanticipation. A woman may enjoy the different changes happening during the three trimesters, if she has adequate support in all facets of her life (physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual). As previously mentioned, a holistic approach is important in the promotion of maternal health and wellness, just like a good balance of resting and exercise. So, to all pregnant women out there my piece of advice is: “Release those endorphins. Keep movin’, to stay blooming!”

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