Exercise can be good for your pregnancy
When a woman learns she is pregnant it is exciting news but suddenly she might feel a lot of pressure to live a perfect life to ensure the baby is healthy. I’m thinking of a lovely smiling lady who was just finding her dance groove at one of my Zumba Fitness classes but then told me she was going to stop coming because she was pregnant. I pleaded with her to still come.
With my first child I too was nervous and read many books and articles about what I needed to do and avoid. Most of the information regarding exercise at the time pretty much said to be careful of everything including not letting your heart rate rise above a certain level. I was still fairly new to teaching group fitness and had limited experience with pregnant women. I slowed down my workout and guarded my heart rate. It felt good to exercise but I kept it real easy and low key. Unfortunately I still gained 50 pounds and suffered lower backaches and had difficulty sleeping. I thought that was probably the best I could expect.
By the time I had my second and third child I learned much more about exercise and had a better handle on what felt right. Instead of following book advice to the letter I listened more to my body. My doctor agreed. Although I must admit I was a bit of a nut teaching Turbo Kickboxing all the way until I gave birth. With my third child I was shaking my belly with Zumba until the week the baby came. While the women in my classes worried I needed to slow down, I felt great! I was strong and I gained only about 20 pounds. I didn’t have the backache I suffered with the first and I slept like a rock at night. The icing on the cake was healthy babies and a body that returned to its normal size much sooner.
Now these kinds of benefits are better known and documented.
If you have a healthy or normal pregnancy researchers and doctors agree you should continue or even begin exercising.
Besides the benefits for the mother that I wrote about above there is research also proving how beneficial it is for the baby. One study by the University of Montreal found babies of moms who exercised had brains that were more fully developed than those of moms who didn’t exercise. Another 2013 study in the Experimental Physiology Journal found aerobic exercise during pregnancy programs the arteries of the baby to be more resilient with the potential to lessen cardiovascular disease into adulthood. Wow!
Now before you and your baby go train for a marathon make sure you talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to be active. Women with a weak cervix or other complications might do more harm than good.
Once given the okay from your doctor here are some recommendations:
–Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel good, stop and talk to your doctor.
-At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days is a good minimum goal.
-Aerobic exercise is good to get your body moving and blood pumping into the uterus. Swimming is a great way to exercise and easiest on the your joints. Walking and dancing are also good low impact aerobic activities you can do well into the last trimester.
-Weight lifting is great. Opt for lower weights with higher repetitions. You’ll need to keep your muscles strong for carrying around the baby and all his stuff.
-Yoga, Pilates and stretching are great for keeping your muscles flexible and strengthening your back. This will lessen backaches.
-Avoid activities with a high risk of falling like skiing, skating, horseback riding.
If you exercise regularly it will fatigue your muscles and make you sleep like a baby.
The more you know the better you do. The lady who stopped exercising because of her pregnancy showed up to class one day about six months along. She was going to just sit and watch. But if you like to dance this is hard to do and eventually she got up and did most of the class with low impact moves. It was good to see her smiling and dancing again. I hope she comes back so she will stay strong, keep up her sprits and give birth to a happy healthy child.
Exercise during pregnancy boots baby’s brain: http://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/pregnancy/1111/exercise-during-pregnancy-can-boost-baby-s-brain.aspx
Activity during exercise boost baby’s health: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/physical-activity-during-pregnancy-benefits-babies-health
Pregnancy Workouts: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/exercises-for-pregnant-women
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