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Preggie Fitness

Posted on December 6, 2017 | No Comments on Preggie Fitness

Maricel lifts weights three times a week. Teresa runs five kilometers every day. Vicky plays tennis as often
as she can. All three women have recently gotten pregnant and would like to continue to exercise but they are concerned that it might hurt their baby. The good news is that experts like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now agree that moderate exercise can be safe for both the baby and the mother-to-be provided it is a healthy, normal pregnancy.

Pregnant women who exercise are less likely to have varicose veins, hemorrhoids, low-back pain and fatigue. It enhances the woman’s self-esteem at a time when her body is changing shape for the worse. Fit women are better able to push and relax during their deliveries. They also experience faster recoveries. A fit woman has an enhanced ability to metabolize fats during exercise. This means there is more glucose available for her and her fetus to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Exercise is beneficial for diabetic moms-to-be and for women prone to gestational diabetes because exercise may help normalize maternal blood glucose and decrease the need for insulin medication. The 2002 ACOG guidelines allow room for individuality when planning an exercise program because what’s safe and appropriate for Maricel may not be so for Teresa and Vicky or for a woman who has never exercised.

The doctor is boss.
Before you start, make sure you get the okay of your obstetrician. She is the best judge because she knows your medical history. Certain medical conditions like placenta previa, incompetent cervix and a previous history of spontaneous miscarriage will make any kind of exercise inadvisable and dangerous.

Avoid exercises lying on your back during the second and third trimester.
After the first trimester, the enlarging uterus lies on top of the vena cava, a major vein that returns blood back to the heart. This could result in a decreased blood supply to the uterus, which may affect fetal growth and development. Also avoid standing motionless for prolonged periods because this can also decrease uterine blood supply.

Exercise regularly at mild to moderate intensities.
Regular exercise is preferable to exercising intermittently. Your muscles and joints are more prone to injury if you only exercise once in a while. The ACOG recommends exercising for 30 minutes on most if not all days of the week. How can you tell if you are exercising at the right intensity? Everyone has a built-in intensity meter. It is called your “perceived exertion” of the exercise. It is what you feel the intensity to be. Your perception of the exercise should be between “light”, “somewhat hard” or “hard” depending on your fitness level. Avoid feeling like the exercise is “very hard” or “extremely hard.”

If you were sedentary before pregnancy, keep the intensity in the “light” range. If you are accustomed to exercise, you can safely take the exercise intensity higher. No matter what your fitness level, listen to your body because your stamina can change from day to day. Adjust the intensity accordingly.
Another method to measure intensity is the “talk test”. You should be able to string a few words together into a sentence without having to run out of breath.

Types of exercise.
Depending on your fitness level, weight-bearing exercises (aerobics, walking, dancing) can be continued at intensities similar to those before pregnancy. However, avoid movements where you have to twist or change directions rapidly. Non-weight-bearing exercises such as stationary cycling or swimming will minimize the risk of injury and facilitate the continuation of exercise during pregnancy. Light weight-training and stretching can safely be done during pregnancy. Just remember to modify positions that require you to lie on your back or stand still for a long time.

Avoid any exercise or sport that carries the risk of falling or getting hit in the stomach. The following should be avoided completely: Horseback riding, scuba diving, water skiing, rock climbing, contact sports, sky diving, and bike riding.

Drink plenty of water and work out in cool surroundings.
Your baby’s temperature is entirely dependent on your ability to cool yourself. The fetus is most sensitive to a high maternal core temperature during the first trimester. Drink water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. Avoid exercising in hot and humid conditions. Never wear plastic or rubberized clothing. Stay away from hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas. You can continue all that after you have given birth.

Eat enough but not too much.
Pregnancy requires an additional 300 calories a day. Thus, women who exercise during pregnancy should be particularly careful to ensure an adequate diet. Pregnancy is no time to diet or to lose weight. You should eat good nutritious food to gain just the right amount of weight. However, just because you are exercising while you are pregnant, it is no excuse to indulge in junk food and rich desserts.

Watch out for signs of hypoglycemia.
Pregnant women are prone to low blood sugar especially after exercise. Signs of hypoglycemia are fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fainting, and nausea. Avoid post-exercise hypoglycemia by eating a pre-exercise snack that is high in carbohydrates and provides protein (example: nonfat milk and graham crackers). It also helps to eat another small snack after you exercise (example nonfat yogurt and a banana).

Warning signals.
If you ever have any of the followirx symptoms, stop exercise immediately arc see your doctor: fainting, vaginal bleeding. sharp pain in the chest or abdomer. extreme nausea, gush of fluid from the vagina, blurred vision, marked swelling or water retention, severe or continuous headache, feeling very hot or cold anc clammy, and feeling of disorientation.

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