One of the biggest debates around is whether you should exercise during pregnancy or not. The issue here, however, is not whether you should, but what type of exercise to do. Yes, you do have to move around just as much when pregnant as you do when not pregnant, but there are some things to know before you start planning that 5K.
Doctor Approval Required - each woman is different and every pregnancy is different. Thus, you cannot just read up on exercise during pregnancy and make your own plans. Only you and your doctor will know what is best for you, and the two of you can then make the best plans;
First trimester is tricky - you feel and look the same (apart from the morning sickness) so why can't you still do the horseback riding, the soccer, or the skiing that you normally do? This is because there is always a risk of trauma during rigorous exercise, and your body's initial reaction to any trauma may be catastrophic to a pregnancy. Don't take risks just because you feel the same;
Consider overheating - the main reason that so many women are advised about exercise during pregnancy is because they overheat their bodies. This may not seem like a big deal, but just think of what that does to the body. When we increase the body temperature by two degrees the outermost blood vessels in the skin will dilate. This shunts all of the blood away from the "core" of the body, and outward to the surface. That means that the developing fetus is not getting the same amount of blood and oxygen. While there is no documented evidence that a hot workout is harmful...why risk it?
Specific exercises are better - if you are someone who must workout, the following list of exercise during pregnancy should be used:
Yoga for pregnant women - this not only keeps your lower back from feeling the increasing pressures of a growing baby, but it is a great way to learn about breathing and the use of the pelvic floor. This will come in very handy when you are in labour and delivering the baby;
Walking - if you are a runner, take heed and slow it down. The jarring of jogging and running is just not a good call for someone who is pregnant. Let's not overlook the fact that runners experience falls a lot more often than the average walker. If you get good sneakers, do some warm up and cool down stretching, and walk for 30 minutes or more each day, you and the baby benefit greatly (just pay attention to outdoor temperatures and keep it cool);
Swimming - this is good up until the end of the pregnancy. You will want to speak with your doctor about the time you need to stop swimming, but many pregnant women enjoy the cardio workout and the way that gravity is erased when they step into the water!
You can exercise during pregnancy, just follow the guidelines above and you should remain healthy and happy right through to delivery.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon and writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
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