Exercising during pregnancy is always a very good idea, and the benefits for you are numerous. Exercise will help ensure that you stay healthy and fit. The healthier you are during pregnancy, the less likely you will have any difficulties with pregnancy. The fitter you are, the easier your childbirth experience will be. It will help you control weight gain during pregnancy and weight loss after pregnancy. It will also help minimize stretch marks.
Most importantly exercise will:
" Help maintain a healthy and steady weight gain for you and your baby.
" Increase your Self esteem, lowering depression and anxiety.
" Help reduce pregnancy related discomfort such as backaches, leg cramps, constipation, bloating, and swelling.
" Help you to recover from delivery and return to a healthy weight faster.
" Accelerate postpartum weight loss.
" Improve your mood, energy level, and feelings about the way you look.
" Improve sleep quality. " Strengthen your muscles and improve your blood flow.
Exercising does however need to be kept in moderation. If you are someone who has always exercised, then there are a few changes that will need to be made to adapt to your changed body. If you have just started to exercise, then you will need to ease yourself into it.
" If you have been exercising regularly, you will be able to maintain your routine to some extent throughout your pregnancy.
" If you are just starting to exercise you should start gradually.
" Try and exercise at least 3 times a week.
" Stretch, but not too much. Extreme stretching could actually cause more damage than good.
" Try and measure your heart rate constantly during exercise. Try not to exceed 150 beats per minute.
" Hydrate with cold refreshing water before and during exercise.
" Don't lift heavy weights while pregnant.
" Never exercise to the point of breathlessness.
" Wear comfortable clothing that fits well and supports and protects your breasts.
" Stop exercising if you feel dizzy, short of breath, pain in your back, swelling, numbness, sick to your stomach, or if your heart is beating too fast or at an uneven rate.
" Choose moderate activities that are unlikely to injure you, such as walking, aqua aerobics, swimming, yoga, or hire a personal trainer with a certification in maternity fitness who can give you a tailored program to suit all your needs and enhance your maternity experience.
Exercising after Birth:
Most women are very eager to regain their pre-pregnancy figures, and women who have exercised through out their pregnancy will gain their figure back much faster than those who haven't exercised during pregnancy.
As before when you started training or exercising when you were first pregnant, you need to start off slowly. You may only start exercising again once your body has completely healed from the stress of labor. So start slowly, and enjoy getting back the figure you used to have!
Tips for pregnancy
Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy. Eat foods rich in folate, iron, calcium, and protein, or get these nutrients through a prenatal supplement.
Talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.
Eat breakfast every day.
Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
Avoid alcohol, raw fish, fish high in mercury, soft cheeses, and anything that is not food.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Talk to your health care provider before you begin.
After you deliver your baby, continue eating well. Return to a healthy weight gradually.
Slowly get back to your routine of regular, moderate physical activity.
Take pleasure in the miracles of pregnancy and birth.
DEBORAH is a highly respected authority in personal training for overall health and fitness, with more than 22 years of experience and success. Her credentials include...
Currently licensed Registered Nurse specializing in Rehabilitative Nursing
Medical Exercise Therapist: certified by AAHFRP, an internationally recognized physical rehabilitation certification
Maternity Specialist Pre & Post Natal certified by Maternal Fitness
Personal Fitness Specialist: certified by NASM, an internationally recognized certification
Professional Health Member, National Organization of Fitness Instructors (IDEA), a leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals
Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT