Get Moving: The Benefits of Prenatal Exercise and Suggested Activities to Keep You and Baby Healthy

 

Congratulations, You’re Pregnant!

So you are newly pregnant and have visions of yourself using the next 9 months or so to lie on the couch and eat bonbons.  Not many women would have that luxury, even if it was a good idea, but it’s not.  Gone are the days when pregnancy was viewed as an illness and pregnant women were treated with kid gloves.  It’s common knowledge today that it’s not only okay to maintain an active lifestyle, it’s considered an important part of a healthy pregnancy ( for both mother and child).

You can’t change your age, but you can take steps to help keep yourself and your baby healthy, and exercise is key.

The Facts

Like it or not, the Advanced Maternal Age (AMA) mom iat higher risk for complications like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. You can’t control your age, but you can take steps to help keep yourself and your baby healthy, and exercise is key.

The American Pregnancy Association lists the following benefits of exercise during pregnancy:

  • Helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy (constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles).
  • Pregnancy often leaves women feeling less energetic, but regular exercise can give you more energy to make it through the day.
  • Allows you to sleep better.
  • Has been shown to improve mood.
  • Helps prepare you for childbirth
  • Most experts agree that gaining more than the recommended 25 to 35 pounds (for a woman of normal weight) during pregnancy makes it harder to lose the weight after the baby is born.

A Few Considerations

Another reality for the AMA Mom is that you are likely beginning to experience the effects of a slowing metabolism (about 5% each decade after 40).  Keeping active will help to counteract this.  No matter what kind of birth you are planning, regular prenatal exercise will help you weather it and make your recovery easier.  Thirty minutes of exercise on most days of the week is recommended. If you haven’t had a regular exercise routine, start off at five or ten minutes at a time and gradually build up.

  • Consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime.
  • Pregnancy is not the time to think about trying to lose weight or taking on an intense workout.
  • The benefits from a gentle prenatal exercise program will come in the form of less fatigue, more strength, less back aches, and maintaining overall health of you and your baby.
  • Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness.
  • Your sense of balance becomes compromised as your belly grows, so it’s a good idea to stay away from exercising on uneven terrain or climbing.
  • Lifting heavy weights or other objects above your head or abdomen should be avoided.
  • Avoid Overstretching.  The hormone Relaxin is at 10 times its normal concentration in the female body during pregnancy.  This leaves you more susceptible to straining joints or ligaments.
  • Know the Exercise Warning Signs.

Some Excellent Prenatal Exercise Options

Whether you choose to join a gym, practice Prenatal Yoga at a studio, or work out on your own, make time for a regular prenatal exercise routine.  It’s one of the smartest decisions you can make for you and your growing baby.

Check out a few excellent sample workouts from Fitpregnancy.com:

  • [fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.fitpregnancy.com/workouts/prenatal-workouts/walk-way”]Walking[/fancy_link]
  • [fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.fitpregnancy.com/featured-galleries/power-yoga-workout-slideshow”]Prenatal Yoga[/fancy_link]
  • [fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.fitpregnancy.com/workouts/prenatal-workouts/water-baby”]Swimming[/fancy_link]
  • [fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.babycenter.com/0_great-pregnancy-exercise-weight-training_7878.bc?page=2#articlesection4″]Light Weight Training[/fancy_link]
  • [fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://www.fitpregnancy.com/featured-galleries/pilates-mama-slideshow”]Pilates[/fancy_link]

 

-Jennifer Rustgi

References:

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/effectsofexerciseonpreg.html

 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/329554-gestational-diabetes-exercise/

 

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/trying_after35.html

http://health.discovery.com/centers/pregnancy/backpain.html

 

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/make-most-your-metabolism

 

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