Thursday, November 22, 2012

So you’re pregnant!

Now what?  How do you avoid packing on the pounds and not harm the precious life growing inside of you? 
Ask yourself some questions:  Are you generally healthy?  Are you already active?  What activities are you currently involved in?
If you are starting out in good health and already exercise regularly, then keep at it! Both you and your baby will benefit. You may need to modify some activities.  It also depends if you are engaging in high risk sports, or impact sports.  Specific contraindicated exercises are downhill skiing, contact sports, scuba diving, and any sports where there is a risk of falling and losing your balance (horseback riding/gymnastics/even some racket sports).  This also depends, of course, on your skill level and how comfortable you are with each sport.
General guidelines for pregnancy are:
1.    After the first trimester, avoid lying down flat on your back.
2.    Keep your heart rate below 160 bpm.
3.    Avoid over-heating.
4.    Focus on your stability and balance.
5.    Keep your movements smooth and even.
6.    Include cardiovascular components, muscular fitness components, and flexibility components in your routine.
7.    Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated.
8.    Wear a good supportive bra.
9.    Make sure you consume the extra daily calories that you need when you are pregnant and exercising.
If you have a high risk pregnancy or are new to exercise, make sure you contact a professional for advice and support.  Each individual’s needs and capabilities are different.  Start slowly because, just by being pregnant, your body is already working hard. Your oxygen demands are higher and, as the baby grows, you are moving more weight.  Remember that hormones have been released that allow your ligaments and joints to become looser and more pliable which can make you more unstable and your center of gravity has shifted. Your activities may have to change because of these differences.

Regular exercise during pregnancy is very positive. It can help reduce back ache, constipation, bloating and many other maladies.  It can improve your posture and your mood. It gives you more energy and promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance.  Regular exercise reduces your risk of gestational diabetes and helps you to sleep better.  Regular activity can also help prepare you for the birth so that you are better able to cope with the demands of labor and recover more quickly after childbirth, thus making it easier for you to get back in shape after the baby is born.

You are pregnant, not sick or an invalid.  Being active while pregnant is fun so enjoy it. Be physically active, just be smart about it as you are making choices for someone else besides yourself.

 ~ Sheryl

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