Exercise and Pregnancy

Exercise and Pregnancy

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The Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy

All the regular benefits of exercise apply to you when you are pregnant: It keeps you healthy, keeps your heart strong, improves your mood and helps you sleep better, to only name a few. However, when you are pregnant there are added benefits to consider: Exercise can reduce some of that pregnancy aches and pains and it will strengthen your muscles and endurance, which would be extremely beneficial to you during child birth. Then there is of course the matter of weight gain during pregnancy and weight loss afterwards. Exercise will help you keep the weight in check and get it off easier after your baby is born.

Recommended Exercise during Pregnancy

Kegel Exercise
Kegel exercise is a must when you’re pregnant. It strengthen pelvic floor muscles so it will help with the pregnancy, the birth and also bladder control afterwards.

Health care providers and fitness professionals all recommend swimming as one of the best exercises when you’re pregnant. It’s a workout for your whole body and because you feel weightless in the water it is so much easier to do with the added pregnancy weight. Your body temperature also stays low during swimming even though your heart rate goes up.

The low impact of walking makes it an excellent exercise while you’re pregnant. There is no strain on your knees and very little chance of injury.

Dancing is not only good for your body but will also boost your mood during pregnancy. Dance on your own at home to your favorite tunes, a dance DVD or take a dance class.

Jogging and Running
It is usually okay to keep running if you have been a runner before you got pregnant. Just make sure you keep hydrated and do not overheat. Always speak to your health care provider if you are uncertain.

You can keep cycling when you’re pregnant. However, a stationary bike might be a better idea, because it eliminates the chance of falling. Also, as with other aerobic exercise, make sure that you drink plenty of water and don’t overheat.

Yoga is always a good stress reliever and helps tone your whole body. It is a good choice of exercise while you’re pregnant.

If you are already doing an aerobic class you will be able to continue, just check with your doctor and be sure to let your instructor know so that she can recommend some changes in your regular routine. It might also be a good idea to switch to a class that is specifically for pregnant women. This can become an added source of support for you during your pregnancy.

Weight Training
You can keep up training with weights if you have been doing this in the past. However, you might have to switch to lighter weights. Do not start training with weights at this point, unless you’ve consulted with your doctor first.

Exercise to Avoid:

You would be wise to avoid spots that have a big risk of falling such as skiing and water skiing. Rather wait a while with the high adrenaline sports, it is worth you and your baby’s safety.

Also, keep away from sports that involve a lot of bouncing and jolting such as horseback riding.

Always consult with your doctor if you are not sure about the safety of participating in a particular sport or exercise.


Tips for Exercise during Pregnancy

Make sure that your heart rate doesn’t go above 130-140 beats per minute. Always make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes with a good grip, to prevent you from slipping. Drink a lot of water, and remember to breathe. Avoid jerking motions and lying on your back for extended periods of time. Don’t wear tight clothes, but do wear a good sports bra that will give you good support.

Remember that Exercise and Pregnancy go together perfectly. In fact, it would be unwise to not incorporate exercise into your pregnancy. However, always check with your doctor to make sure you are not endangering your or your baby in any way. There are obviously exceptions.

Warning: Stop exercising if you have any vaginal bleeding, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, contractions, or nauseous feelings.

Author: Heleen Woest
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