1. If You Exercise Regularly
Women who love to exercise are willing
to juggle hectic schedules to fit it into their daily routine. They
believe exercise is necessary to help them feel fit, control their
weight and look their best. They don’t want to give up exercising or
its benefits because of pregnancy.
If you exercise on a regular basis before
pregnancy, you may need to modify your exercise goals and take things a
little easier during pregnancy. The goal of exercising at this time is
overall good health. Exercise makes you feel better physically, and it
can give you an emotional boost—but don’t overdo it.
There are benefits to continuing a
moderate exercise program during your pregnancy. The discussion below
identifies some of them.
Some healthcare providers believe women
who exercise during pregnancy enjoy a shorter recovery time after
birth. Because exercise keeps you fit, you may bounce back more quickly.
You may have to change or modify your
exercise program during pregnancy because of changes in your body. Your
center of gravity shifts, so you need to adjust your exercise for that.
As your abdomen grows larger, you may not be able to do some activities
very comfortably, and you may have to eliminate others.
During pregnancy, your heart rate is
higher; you don’t have to exercise as vigorously to reach your
target-heart-rate range. Be careful not to put too much stress on your
cardiovascular system. If your heart rate is too high, slow down
but don’t stop completely. Continue exercising at a moderate rate. If
your heart rate is too low and you don’t feel winded, you may pick up
the pace a bit, but again, don’t overdo it. Check your pulse rate
frequently to make sure you aren’t overexerting.
Joan was concerned because it was hard
to find time to exercise regularly. I told her to try exercising at her
desk at work, doing ankle and leg exercises. This helped her keep her
legs toned and also helped her with leg cramps and swelling.
Women who jog or run regularly often want
to continue this activity during pregnancy. If you’re used to jogging
and have been involved in regular jogging before pregnancy, you can
continue in moderation during pregnancy after getting your doctor’s OK.
Listen to your body when it tells you to slow down—don’t get
overheated, stop if you feel tired and drink lots of water.
2. The Exercise Payoff
Exercise during pregnancy can help you
feel more in control of your body and relieve some of the common aches
and pains of pregnancy. Exercise improves circulation and helps you
adjust to carrying the extra weight you gain during pregnancy. Regular,
moderate exercise can also help?
•prevent constipation and varicose veins
•strengthen muscles needed for delivery
•make you feel better about yourself
•ease labor and delivery
•leave you in better shape after delivery
•control weight gain
Other exercise benefits include an
increase in energy, nausea control, improvement in sleep, feeling
better overall and having an easier time losing weight after pregnancy.
Exercise also increases the release of growth hormone, which may help
protect you from illness.
Try water aerobics to help relieve back
and pelvic pain. Once a week may really help. Doing low-impact aerobics
for at least 2 hours a week may help reduce your risk of preterm birth.
Ten minutes of yoga or Pilates increases your blood flow and stretches