Prenatal Exercise - Be Safe

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Just because you're expecting doesn't mean you have to sit on the sidelines.

Exercising is always good but it tends to be more fun in the summer when we can get outside. We tend to exercise more during the summer months. It just feels nice to be outside in the fresh air. You have to admit that it's more fun to swim at the beach than to work out at the gym. And just because you're expecting doesn't mean you have to sit on the sidelines. Exercise during pregnancy is good for you and has some very positive benefits. But remember, you're exercising for two now - follow these simple guidelines to  keep the both of you healthy and safe

Here are some benefits to exercising while you are pregnant.

Exercise improves posture and decreases some common complaints such as back pain and fatigue. It also helps prevent gestational diabetes and pregnancy related high blood pressure and helps reduce postpartum depression as well as reducing stress. In addition to all that, exercise prepares your body for birth. Preparing for the birthing process is like preparing for a marathon. It helps to be as fit as possible.

Exercise prepares your body for birth. Preparing for the birthing process is like preparing for a marathon. It helps to be as fit as possible.

If you're new to exercising be sure to start slowly. Try 5 minutes of walking daily. You can slowly increase that by adding 5 minutes a day until you feel comfortable walking 30 minutes a day. If however, you're someone who exercises regularly, by all means continue to do so. You might need to make some modifications. You body is obviously changing and this effects what you should and shouldn't do. For starters there is the change in your center of gravity. This effects balance.

Staying Safe With Prenatal Exercise

Don't engage in contact sports. (I'm not telling you something you don't already know!) First of all it's too easy to get knocked over and secondly you don't want someone to inadvertently bump the bump! Always choose a low impact aerobic exercise over a high impact aerobic exercise. And - No Push-Ups! Working out while pregnant is not the same as working out when you're not pregnant. The American College of Obstetrics recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days unless you have a medical or pregnancy related complication.

There are certain situations where exercise is not recommended and can actually be harmful. If you have any of the following conditions do not exercise unless you have the permission of your doctor: low placenta, bleeding or spotting, weak cervix, threatened or recurrent miscarriages or any other pregnancy related conditions. Even if you have none of these conditions, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

When you're pregnant you may feel more tired. The heat and humidity of summer can add to your fatigue. Exercising can give you more energy. Just don't overdo it. But very be aware of overheating. Avoid exercising in extremely hot weather. That's when you want to take your workout inside where it's air-conditioned. Keep in mind that when you overheat you can cool down. It's much harder for your baby to cool down. This is why hot tubs and saunas are not recommended during pregnancy.

Suggestions for Safe Prenatal Exercise

When exercising make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and replace the fluids you lose by working out. And remember to breathe! Don't hold your breath. Sometimes if we are so focused on a particular actively or move we forget to breath. Not a good idea. When we exercise we need to keep the oxygen flowing - so breathe!

Here are some of my favorite exercises for pregnant women:

  • Swimming is great. No matter how big you are, you feel weightless in water. Swimming is a low impact exercise that is a great workout. Even if you don't swim, walking in a swimming pool is beneficial.

  • Walking is wonderful. You can do it anywhere and you don't need special equipment; just a good pair of shoes. Start slowly and build up your pace and distance.

  • Prenatal yoga taught by a certified prenatal yoga instructor is good not only for your body but also for your state of mind. You will be doing a lot of stretching and breathing which will really help during labor. Prenatal yoga classes are also great places to meet other pregnant women.

  • Pilates when taught by someone trained in prenatal pilates is great. There is a lot of focus on strengthening the core. This will help control the separation of the diastasis which in turn can help eliminate back pain and the "mommy tummy.

You have lots of choices, so start moving!

Now I'd like to hear from you. How are you keeping in shape during your pregnancy? Share your ideas, tips and comments below.