Exercising during pregnancy, part two

Published 6:34 am Tuesday, February 24, 2004

By Staff
Last week the question of the week asked: I am pregnant and want to find out what exercises I can do that will be safe for myself and the baby, what do I need to be cautious of and what are the benefits of exercising while pregnant?
We looked at reasons you may be advised not to work out during pregnancy, safe workout tips, and warning signs that your workouts are too strenuous. This week we will look at benefits of exercising while pregnant, exercises that are safe to do and your exercise routine after pregnancy.
Benefits of exercising during pregnancy:
It can help you prepare for labor
It can help reduce the severity of back pain
It can help with the amount of swelling, bloating, and constipation
It can help give you energy
It can help with depression and your mood
It can help you sleep better at night
It can help keep your muscles toned and endurance up
It can help with your blood pressure
Exercises to do while pregnant:
As stated last week, before a woman who is pregnant can exercise she should check with her doctor first.
As recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, walking is considered the best exercise for anyone. Walking has low impact on the body with low risk of injury.
Swimming or water aerobics are safe choices, but remember not to go into water that is over your head. Activities such as skiing and diving are dangerous when pregnant.
Stationary biking is also a safe choice. If you ride a bike outdoors make sure to wear a helmet but when pregnant, especially in the later months, one may find it hard and unstable to ride a bike outdoors.
Steer clear of any activities that may cause injury to the stomach area, involve fast twisting or jerking movements or requires balance such as basketball or skating.
Remember, you want to keep the exercise to a moderate level. Never get to the point where you cannot talk, are out of breath, or overheated.
You can strength train, which can be important to keep a strong back, pelvic organ support, good posture, and the prevention of back, neck and shoulder pain.
Remember, after the first trimester do not do any exercises on your back.
Make sure the weight you are using is comfortable and not too heavy.
Pelvic exercises are important during pregnancy. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic area, which helps support the growing weight of the uterus, and baby.
After pregnancy you should check with your physician to see when it is all right for you to start exercising again. At first you may feel that you do not have as much strength or energy as before. You will have to slowly start back into your exercise routine. It may feel like that first time you ever worked out. Walking or water activities are two of the best ways to get back into the routine. It will help build up your endurance and strength. If you go for walks outside it is also a great way to take the baby with you while you exercise. If you need a break, the YMCA has babysitting for parents who are in the facility working out.
These are only some of the ways for a pregnant woman to exercise during and after pregnancy. If you are not sure what to do always talk to your doctor first and even talk to a personal trainer at a fitness facility.
Thought of the Week: There's no such thing as too much love. -Arthur Gordon
Reference: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists