Not long ago you would
rarely see a pregnant woman exercising since it was considered a risk
for the unborn. Attitudes have changed quite a bit, and we now know there
are many benefits to women who exercise during pregnancy within the limits
The most important consideration is being able to know how much is enough,
and to try not to overdo it. The safe upper limit for exercise during
pregnancy has not been established to date. Most likely, it is closely
related to the mother's fitness level, and the specific circumstances
of the pregnancy. It is not possible to set an overall standard for all
women, only to encourage exercise within safety guidelines. Therefore,
it is important that each woman listens to her body while exercising,
and learns to recognize her own limitations. Exercise capabilities should
not be compared to those of any other pregnant woman.
Regardless of your
fitness level, always check with your obstetrician about starting or continuing
any exercise program during pregnancy. Guidelines
by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should
be strictly followed. Intensity
of exercise, or heart rate, recommendations are lower for pregnant
women than those suggested for the general public. While exercise has
some real benefits during pregnancy, safety of the fetus and mother is
another important concern. And, once you have received the "OK"
and any specific instructions from your obstetrician, please review the
important articles linked to this page, including the Do's
and Don'ts before beginning.
General Guidelines for prenatal exercise summarizes the exercise types,
frequency and duration suggested for women having non-complicated pregnancies.
Specific exercises and illustrations for strengthening
exercises, general comments on aerobic
activities and a basic
set of exercises for toning your pelvic region are presented.
and Limited Activity
Some women having a high risk pregnancy which requires very light physical
activity or bedrest may be able to do some gentle
exercise to maintain strength and muscle tone, but this is not true
in all cases. Always get specific advice from your obstetrician regarding
your risks and limitations, and never do any exercise without medical
approval in advance.
of Exercise During Pregnancy
stamina and increases energy
muscular aches, pains, and tension; promotes relaxation
of back pain; Improves posture
ankle swelling, bloating, and constipation
muscles in preparation for labor
muscle tone, strength, and endurance
of exercise during pregnancy are significant to the mother.
Labor is often easier for regular exercisers as well.
is some research that suggests exercising women have shorter
labor, less risk of delivering prematurely, handle body stress
better, and have a lower a lower rate of C-section. However,
the research is not conclusive and exercise is not a guarantee
for a smooth delivery.
Oh, by the way,
in case you haven't heard this enough already:
not exercise to lose weight during pregnancy!
Changes Of Pregnancy
What happens to a woman's body during pregnancy? How do these changes
impact exercise and movement? Below is a simple review of the physical
changes a woman's body undergoes. Because of these changes, pregnant women
are physically more susceptible to injury and strain with movement. Some
simple things you can do to protect yourself during routine movement required
in daily living are posture
corrections, using proper lifting technique and checking weekly for
separation which, if present, will require you to take extra precautions.
Talk with your physician if you suspect abdominal separation is occurring.
Body Adaptations To Pregnancy
rate increases during pregnancy
uptake increases throughout pregnancy.
volume and cardiac output may increase by 30 to 45%.
pregnancy a hormone called relaxin may cause your ligaments
to stretch more easily which could increase your risk of
of the uterus, breasts, and overall weight gain can cause
a shift in your center of gravity which may affect balance