Pregnancy Fitness: Move It, Baby!
Well, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry...or so they say. You were planning to get into the best shape ever before you got pregnant, and you ended up pregnant before you got there. Don't despair. If you were following an exercise program before you conceived, you should be able to maintain it, at least to some degree, throughout your pregnancy. The great news is that exercise does not increase your risk for miscarriage.
But I Really Want to Exercise While Pregnant
If, on the other hand, you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, start out very slowly and be careful not to overexert yourself. Your body is an incredible mechanism and it knows itself better than you think it does. Listen to it when it gives you signals to reduce the level of exercise you are performing. As a pregnant woman, be sure you never exercise to the point of exhaustion or a state of breathlessness. Both conditions are a strong indication that neither you nor your baby is receiving the amount of oxygen you need.
Dress for the Occasion: Pregnancy Fitness Wear
With the center of gravity changing on an ongoing basis, you'll need to make sure your shoes are sturdy and balanced with good ankle and arch supports. Properly fitting clothing, neither too tight nor too sloppy - which inhibits movement - is also important when you exercise. There's no need to stop doing most of your favorite things, however, you may want to consider avoiding rocky terrain or unstable ground when running or biking. Since your joints will be more lax during pregnancy, the chances of a sprain or pulled muscle will be increased. And, you really don't want to get involved in contact sports or anything extreme - save that for after the baby is born.
Suggestions to Make Pregnancy Exercise Safe
There are a few tips to consider as general practice when you are performing any type of fitness activities. Be sure you are well hydrated and take frequent breaks during your workouts. It's better to exercise in an environment that is not too hot. Extreme heat creates its own set of problems for a pregnant woman and there's just no sense inviting trouble. Weight training, believe it or not, is a great thing for a pregnant woman to engage in. Emphasize improving muscle tone and increasing strength, just be sure not to lift the weights over your head. And, stay away from weights that are too heavy - you don't want to strain your lower back muscles.
What To Do - What Not To Do
When you are in your second and third trimesters, avoid exercises that involve laying flat on your back. Such posture inhibits the flow of blood to the uterus and is not good for your baby. Be sure to include lots of stretching in your warm-ups and cool-downs. Not only does it feel good, it also helps to increase flexibility and to strengthen and lengthen muscles.
You Go, Girl
Top it all off with a great diet which includes plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and you're well on your way to being the fittest expectant mom on the block.