Being pregnant is awesome! Following a safe and effective exercise program during your pregnancy can keep you strong and ready for your new role as “mom”!
A safe program can have amazing health benefits for you, and can make some of those side effects of pregnancy less debilitating.
First and foremost, you want to consult with your doctor about your current exercise regiment and make sure you have the clear sign to continue. Second, make sure you adjust your workouts as your pregnancy progresses. You will want to avoid exercising in hot and humid environments, avoid isometrics and straining while holding your breath and avoid lying on your back past the 4th month. This is not an exhaustive list, just an “at a glance” of things to consider. However, below are some amazing benefits that you may be unaware of, as well as some risks to consider, as you embark on the most amazing journey.
Exercise can improve posture and body mechanics, facilitate circulation, reduce pelvic and rectal pressure and increase energy levels. (Stern, Field, Sidney and Eskenazi, 1992)
A study conducted by *Clapp (1998) compared the labors of women who continued performing weight-bearing exercises throughout pregnancy compared to those women that didn’t follow an exercise program but occasionally engaged in activities such as gardening, tennis or walking. The women that continued weight-bearing exercise throughout gestation, experienced less problematic deliveries including:
75% decrease in need for forceps or Caesarean section
75% decrease in maternal exhaustion
50% decrease in the need for Oxytocin (Pitocin- a labor inducing drug)
50% decrease in the need to intervene due to fetal heart-rate abnormalities
30% shorter active labor.
Women that discontinued exercise mid-pregnancy did not experience these benefits and did not differ greatly from the control group.
Please note that there are some women, for whom exercise is completely contraindicated during pregnancy, so make sure you periodically check with your doctor to ensure a safe, happy and fit pregnancy!
*J.F. Clapp III, 1998, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, page 94
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