Pregnancy FitnessWednesday, December 12th, 2012
There are so many great reasons to exercise. It helps all of us to feel better and to be healthier whether we are pregnant or not. During pregnancy, however, regular exercise and being fit can help decrease the incidence of gestational diabetes, help you to develop more stamina for labor and experience less post partum depression.
For those women who are not physically active I suggest that you begin a loose regimen of daily walks, stretching or prenatal yoga. Walking tend to be the easiest because you can pace yourself and increase your efforts, as you feel fit. You can park your car a bit farther away from work or take a walk at lunchtime and enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to walk in safe, comfortable shoes.
If you are already physically active, these exercises are designed specifically for each trimester of pregnancy.
Generally, if your pregnancy is completely normal and going smoothly, you are not limited at all- unless you participate in a contact sport such as, fencing, kickboxing or soccer. If this is the case, you should ask your doctor or midwife before continuing.
- Workout activities such as running, bicycling and weight lifting are fine.
- Be extra careful when you are stretching! Women have an increase in the hormone relaxin during pregnancy. This can result in loose joints for several months during pregnancy and after giving birth. Because you may feel more limber, you can over-stretch and hurt yourself.
The second trimester is the ideal time to shift from strictly aerobic activities and include mind /body exercises.
- Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to slowdown and center yourself, in addition to getting a great workout.
- Alter your sit-ups! They are fine if they are done on a 45-degree incline with your knees bent.
- Lifting weights are also still fine, so long as they are not too strenuous–just be sure to use caution.
- Using a stationary bicycle or taking a moderate ride outside is terrific. Bicycling is an aerobic, non-weight bearing activity.
- It is vital not to become overheated. It is important to pace yourself, rest as needed during your workout and drink plenty of extra water. Remember, you’re drinking for two now!
Your activities in the third trimester should be limited to your level of comfort.
- Taking a daily walk can be perfect and you might find it, alone, to be enough.
- Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise. It is aerobic, and safe to do everyday. Floating in the water gives you a “weightless” sensation in which you don’t feel the physical limitations of your growing body.
- Here again, in the third trimester, prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to prepare your body, mind and spirit for your soon-to-arrive baby.
Women who exercise regularly are also more likely than others to report feeling accomplished, confident, and positive about life. I wish you much health and happiness on this exciting adventure.