Many women enjoy a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a good diet. It can be tough to maintain that lifestyle after you become pregnant, especially during the later stages. But it is possible, and in fact preferable, to maintain an exercise regime as long as possible, even through your ninth month.
Pregnancy brings many changes. Hormone levels go wild, you gain weight and eventually movement becomes increasingly difficult. Changes in the level of progesterone, estrogen and other hormones produce softening of the ligaments around joints. Strain on your internal organs, your back and your legs is inevitable because you are carrying around an extra thirty pounds or more.
Sometimes a general malaise sets in. Regular, appropriate exercise can help relieve much of that and help put your body in the best shape possible for pregnancy labor. That optimizes your comfort and your growing baby’s health.
The first step is to adopt a kind of Hippocratic Oath of Pregnancy: First, Do No Harm. That ancient principle from the Greeks is still valid, more so during pregnancy. Some women are used to running five miles, doing every station at the weight machine or performing Pilates an hour a day. That will have to change fairly quickly.
Maintaining a good exercise regimen is still possible, just change your workout to fit your changing body. Eliminate crunches or any other form of exercise that stresses the abdominals or back. Go with lighter weights. Avoid jerky movements and forgo squats which can separate the placenta from the uterus.
Breathing properly during exercises performed while pregnant is essential. Correct breathing technique anytime is important, but you’re now breathing for two. The baby receives oxygen through the umbilical cord and keeping your blood fully oxygenated is imperative. Keep in mind that your resting heartbeat will increase by about 8 beats per minute during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. Blood volume increases substantially as you progress. Factor that in when you consider any cardio exercise.
Hydrate at an appropriate amount throughout the day. That means you should take small sips over a longer time frame, rather than large intake at a given time. Eating should follow the same pattern – four to five small meals per day is preferable to three larger ones. Before beginning a workout, warm up gently. Perform easy stretches and be prepared to rest often for a few minutes at a time. Light cardio is the key to a healthy circulatory system which is vital during these months.
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity forward, stressing the spine and back muscles. To ease that aching back, swimming is one of the best forms of exercises. It also gives a very low stress but active cardio workout.
Prenatal yogais a favorite for many. It helps achieve peace of mind and provides gentle movements that provide the needed stretching, while building good leg and arm strength. With a good program, you’ll reduce cramps, improve circulation and increase energy. You’ll lower your resting heart rate and keep fit.
If you feel any dizziness, swelling or experience any kind of vaginal bleeding or discharge discontinue at once and consult a medical professional.Before beginning any exercise regimen it’s vital that you talk with your physician. It’s great to get more than one opinion, but your OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) can help you devise a program that is great for you and your baby.
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