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A Guide to Exercising While Pregnant

Congratulations, you are pregnant, but don't stop exercising! Women who religiously exercise often take a hiatus from physical fitness activities once they become pregnant. After they have given birth, they are ready to jump back into their fitness routine. Even women who did not workout prior to pregnancy will often start an exercise program in order to help lose any added baby weight. Did you know that continuing to exercise while pregnant can help lead to a more comfortable pregnancy term?


That is not to say a strenuous exercise routine is beneficial. In fact, it can be dangerous to your health and your baby’s health. However, mild exercises can be healthy. It is best to discuss any physical fitness programs, while pregnant, with your doctor before beginning any activities.


Maintaining an active lifestyle while pregnant helps keep your circulatory system healthy which in turn provides fresh blood and nutrients to your cells and your baby. It will strengthen your pelvic, leg, and back muscles which can lessen back pain and help you with the added weight of carrying around an extra person. It is also important in keeping your joints flexible, as your body undergoes many changes while pregnant.


Two of the most recognized benefits of physical fitness while pregnant is improved sleep and helping to elevate your mood. When we exercise, the brain sometimes releases endorphins which can provide a natural ‘high’ to the body and makes us happier. Regular exercise can burn up extra energy, which may be caused by anxiety, and will help you sleep better throughout the night.


There are several physical fitness activities that are beneficial to pregnant women, and are generally the most comfortable. The first is swimming, which is a low impact exercise and is easy on your joints and back. Swimming while pregnant will allow you to maintain flexibility and is also a good cardiovascular workout.


The second exercise is spinning, also known as riding an exercise bike. Spinning has similar results to swimming. It is an excellent cardiovascular workout and is relatively low impact. It is a great way to help tone your legs, back, and pelvic muscles to provide extra support for you and your baby, and this also helps strengthen certain muscle groups used during delivery. Spinning for most women should stop around the seventh month of pregnancy.


The third type of exercise is called ‘Kegels’ which is a pelvic strengthener. They help target the muscles used when giving birth. It is easiest to find these muscles when you are using the restroom. Start to urinate, and then stop in the middle. These are the muscles you are targeting. Try to breathe normally and do no tighten your legs or stomach. Once you are able to ‘flex’ these muscles you can perform your kegel exercises at any time.


Always stop any physical fitness activity at the first sign of pain, discomfort, or dizziness. Talk to your doctor before starting any form of exercise while pregnant. Do not push yourself; you are just trying to maintain your overall health and well-being.

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