By Brian Gardner
The first thing to understand when you exercise during your pregnancy is to take extra care. This doesn't mean exercise less, rather be sure to know and understand your body limits. Even though exercising during your pregnancy can be beneficial, there are certain risks involved that may be detrimental. Be sure to check in with your doctor or midwife to ensure that you are able to exercise during pregnancy.
Once you have the go-ahead from your physician, keep them updated with how you are doing. Are you experiencing fatigue or pain while you are exercising during your pregnancy? Be sure to let them know if that's the case. It's important to have caution while exercising, and if you're in doubt, check in with your physician. It is also very important to remember that exercising while pregnant isn't mean to improve your physical fitness, rather maintain your physical condition.
While choosing an exercise to do during your pregnancy, be sure to consider ones that involve a partner - be it your spouse, or a friend. Pick pregnancy exercises that you enjoy, as that will help you to stay motivated to exercise during pregnancy Stay away from pregnancy exercises where you might be in danger of falling, losing your balance or getting hit in the abdomen, as these might increase the chance of something going wrong during your pregnancy.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WORKOUT?
Finding a pregnancy exercise that you enjoy and being able to fit into your schedule is important. You'll soon notice that once you start to experience the benefits of exercising during pregnancy, you'll want to ensure that you exercise regularly. Keep in mind that the best resource for exercise while pregnant will be your healthcare provider.
Two stages of exercising that are important are warming up and cooling down. Even with an exercise such as walking, this will help you to avoid and prevent muscle soreness and stiffness. Try to include 5 to 15 minute sessions of warming up and cooling down while you exercise during your pregnancy.
The best warm up activity is one that is kept at a low-intensity, rhythmic activity, such as walking, or riding a stationary bike. Follow that up with slow, controlled stretches, before proceeding with a higher level of activity. A gentle cool down is also important as you exercise during pregnancy. In order to have an effective cool down, stretch each muscle, one at a time. Gentle toning pregnancy exercises are safe if you keep them to a moderate level. You might also try to include relaxation or deep-breathing exercises as well.
Below is a short list of signs that you should stop exercising:
1) Bloody discharge or any gush of fluid from the vagina
2) Unexplained pain in the abdomen
3) Persistent headaches, changes in vision, faintness or dizziness
4) Marked fatigue, heart palpitations or chest pains
5) Sudden swelling of ankles, face or your hands
HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD I DO?
The best way to decide how much and how often you should exercise during your pregnancy is to follow the FITT principle - Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who are pregnant should not exercise for longer than 30 minutes. Even though you may feel good, and that you can keep going, your pregnant body can only handle so much. A good workout program at the beginning of your pregnancy is one that is performed three times a week.
Throughout your pregnancy, you should aim to exercise moderately. Again, the idea is not to improve your physical fitness, rather to maintain. Overtraining can be damaging to you and your body, as well as your baby's. Learn how to take your pulse, and do not exceed 15 to 20 beats per minute more than normal. If you find it difficult to talk while you are exercising, you might be exercising to heavily while you are pregnant.
Be advised that you should begin your exercising in short workouts. Pushing yourself to quickly might result in soreness of the muscles, as well as exhaustion. During the first few weeks of your pregnancy, you should exercise no more than 15 minute sessions. Once you feel comfortable with that duration, exercising for up to 30 minutes during your pregnancy should benefit you greatly. This increase in time shouldn't occur until you are into your second trimester, however. It is important that you listen to your body if you exercise while being pregnant. If you find yourself tired and sore after a workout, cut back until you can feel comfortable with the amount.
Whether you prefer to exercise during your pregnancy alone, or with a friend or group of friends, it's important to decide which type of activity you will perform. Some activities that women who are pregnant find helpful are swimming, walking, stair-climbing, stationary cycling, and special prenatal aerobics and aquatic classes. Some of these activities such as walking and swimming, can be done in moderation even up until the day you deliver.
Brian Gardner is the Founder of PregnancyEtc.com - An Online Pregnancy Resource For 9 Months & Beyond. Having recently experienced pregnancy firsthand with his wife Shelly, Brian has dedicated his efforts towards pregnancy research. The development of http://www.pregnancyetc.com was to ensure that expecting parents had a place to find information on pregnancy and babies.
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