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Thanks to the age-old myths, many moms-to-be avoid prenatal exercising as they believe that strenuous workout can harm the baby. In reality, if a woman is having a normal pregnancy, she can continue to exercise, and a prenatal fitness or yoga training can even bring benefits such as:
- Less fat gain
Less physical discomfort
Shorter labor and delivery and less complications
Faster recovery after childbirth
Of course, never go over your limits – stop when you feel you had enough. I like to say : “Better safe than sorry”. Anyway, make sure the gym is supplied with medical supplies in any case. In pregnancy, you might get tired more quickly, since the amount of blood that your heart needs to push around increases by about 50 percent. But, this just means that you will make more breaks. Although it is a common belief that pregnant women should keep their heart rate below 140, this number is not so strictly defined. Listen to your body and do whatever makes you feel good. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Here is a program that can help:
A Trimester-by-Trimester Guide to Exercise
First Trimester Tips
If you have been exercising before you got pregnant, you can continue doing it. This also includes the same amount of weight lifting. If you were not a regular exerciser, now is the time to become one. The best favor you can do to yourself in pregnancy is to keep moving. Begin with low-impact exercises 30 minutes a day three to five times a week and see how it goes. If possible, find a trainer who is experienced in working with future moms.
Get involved in prenatal yoga or Pilates. Pilates can help you with two major problems of all pregnant women: balance and lower back pain. Avoid all poses where you lie on your back, and any twisting and stretching of your belly. Workout once a week is enough to get your strength and balance in check. Yoga is the best exercise during pregnancy and the rest of your life. It will build your strength, improve balance, keep your muscles limber, lower your blood pressure, and teach you breathing techniques that will help you immensely during delivery. You should avoid backbends, headstands, and Bikram yoga.
Second Trimester Tips
If you have been a runner before, you can probably continue to follow your routine, but you will have to give it up eventually. Women often find it very hard to run with a 5 to 6 months size belly. Walking is just as healthy as running and it is easier to keep up with. You can start with an easy stroll slowly picking up the pace. Stop when you feel tired. Equip yourself with comfortable shoes to reduce the stress on your joints, so you do not have to worry about falling over.
If you are a cyclist, switch to a stationary bike. The problem with bicycles and pregnancy is not in getting on the bike, but in falling off one, especially since your center of gravity will change at some point during pregnancy. Stationary bikes are safer and the effect is the same as if you were riding a bike on the street.
Third Trimester Tips
You can still lift weights in the third trimester, but your joints are more vulnerable, so opt for more repetitions, instead of more weight. Weight training will build your strength and help you carry the extra pounds.
Now is a great time to start swimming. The pool will become your best friend during pregnancy. You will get hooked up on that wonderful feeling of weightlessness. Your joints will rejoice once you take the stress off of them. Water exercises are low impact, and there is no fear of falling over and hurting yourself and the baby. Same as all other type of exercise, just make sure you do not twist your midsection too much, and get out of the pool as soon as you notice any fatigue.
It is clear that exercise is vital in the prenatal period. It’s good for you and the baby, so there is no reason why you should avoid exercise in the prenatal period.
Did you exercise when you were pregnant?
Amy Mia Goldsmith is a literature graduate with a lot of different interests in life. She and her husband love DIY projects and living green. Amy’s daughter Sophie is 5 and her favorite magical character is Hermione from the Harry Potter books. You can contact Amy on her Facebook page.