Exercise has been proven by repeated studies to provide many benefits during pregnancy, including strengthening baby’s heart and reducing the risk of complications. Other studies have confirmed a faster recovery and fewer delivery complications for mothers who routinely exercise. Even with this evidence, an epidemiological study has now shown women may not be receiving the message.
Only half of women reported exercising 90 minutes per week prior to pregnancy, which is a rate lower than the 120 minutes recommended by experts. Only 27 percent of women continued at this modest level of exercise after pregnancy.
The problem turns out to be one of belief. Many women have a completely unfounded belief that working out for longer than 30 minutes, even with low- to moderate-intensity walking and swimming exercises, poses a danger to their babies. I was greatly encouraged by my doctor to exercise regularly and research has proven the real danger lies in not exercising.
Beginning a Safe Routine
For the new moms with little history of physical fitness, it is important to get started immediately. The best forum for learning proper ways to exercise is an exercise class for pregnant women. I was lucky enough to invest in a personal trainer versed in pregnancy so I could start off my term knowing the safest way to work out in my condition. If both of these are lacking in the community, mom can go it alone with input from health providers.
Strengthening mom’s heart and circulatory health has been shown to have the same effect on baby. Swimming is a low-intensity form of exercise suitable for anyone. Walking at a brisk pace is a moderate form, but caution should be taken in the heat of summer. Staying hydrated and using a heart rate monitor are the most important steps. The heart rate should not exceed 140 beats a minute. Walkers should also invest in a high-quality pair of shoes.
Yoga for pregnancy is a great way to learn the best forms of stretching and get cardiovascular exercise at the same time—it was also my favorite way to workout. If there is no formal class available, videos can provide guidance. Stretching is an essential component of any aerobic routine. It increases blood flow and greatly reduces the risk of injury.
Safe Weight Training
Mothers looking to lessen recovery time from delivery and gain an edge on losing pregnancy weight will want to incorporate weight training. This can be done safely. One method of resistance training uses the body’s weight only, so it is suitable for use anywhere.
A basic isometric exercise is the triceps dip. A sturdy chair with arms is required. Grip the arms while keeping the elbows parallel to one another. Raise the body until arms are fully extended. The legs should only be used for balance. Lower the body to an inch of the seat for one repetition. On the last repetition, hold the arms fully extended for ten seconds. This should only be done once per day at most.
Physical fitness can be built and maintained safely throughout pregnancy for everyone’s benefit. Speak to your doctor to make sure your doing the right exercises. They will also be able to give you advice on topics like cord blood banking, pain medicine, circumcision, and even diet. Pregnancy is a busy time in a women’s life as mom prepares for her newborn. Not only will exercising make mom healthier, but the baby as well! Have fun with your exercises and switch things up if you start to get bored with the same old routine.
“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”