Cindy Says: Keeping fit for two
I am 34, just starting into my second trimester of pregnancy and have always been active. I do a variety of cardio (fitness classes, treadmill and bike) and strength training (weights are used in some of the classes I attend). I work out three to four times a week and this is my first pregnancy.
I feel really good and my doctor has not given me any restrictions, but I am wondering if I should keep doing the same thing or change it in some way? - Kimberly D.
Pregnancy is one of the most health conscious times of a woman's life. Even women who don't exercise regularly focus on incorporating healthier habits during these important nine months. It is a time when the pay-off for good choices is doubled - with a healthy baby and also a healthy, more energetic you.
Entering the second trimester of pregnancy usually means you are feeling more like yourself again, resting better, tolerating foods and regaining your normal energy level. With your commitment to exercise you enter with a head start on health. Chances are you will ease through this pregnancy and delivery and bounce back in a shorter amount of time.
In fact, exercising regularly has been shown to decrease incidence of excessive maternal weight gain, swelling, pregnancy induced hypertension, deep vein thrombosis, dyspnea, gestational diabetes mellitus, cramps, fatigue and back pain.
The guidelines for prenatal exercise, barring any complications during pregnancy, are just the same as for the general population.
The most recent evidence strongly recommends regular physical activity and says mothers-to-be can maintain or even improve cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
Aerobic exercise such as walking, hiking, jogging, dance, swimming, cycling, rowing may be appropriate. Strength training is believed to be safe if weight is kept low through a normal range of motion.
Yoga is a wonderful way to keep the body strong during pregnancy.
So, what precautions should you heed during the next five to six months?
In terms of frequency and time, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women participate in 30 or more minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Finally, remember to pay attention to what's going on physically as your body adjusts to your growing baby. If you're feeling muscle strain or excessive fatigue, modify the moves you're doing and/or reduce the frequency of your workouts.
Pregnancy isn't the time to push yourself to your limits. It is, however, the time to stay physically active, hydrated and well-nourished so that when that when delivery time arrives, you'll have energy to spare.