In putting together an exercise program for pregnant women, most doctors stress the need to maintain healthy muscle tone, promote good circulation and build stamina. These are all conditions which will not only allow you to be healthy during pregnancy but also handle the stress of labor and delivery and bounce back to your pre-pregnancy body quicker and easier.
One of the biggest misconceptions about exercising during pregnancy is that it is not safe. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Obviously, some concessions must be made in light of the unique physical demands of pregnancy.
Heavy exercise is not recommended, nor is exercise for a prolonged amount of time. Generally, no more than 30 minutes a day is all you need to increase your energy level, improve health and reduce painful or uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy.
Not only does following a regular exercise program for pregnant women help to maintain good health, it also prepares you for the rigors of labor and delivery and it can ease some of the hormonal issues that come with pregnancy.
When you exercise, serotonin is released in your brain. This is a chemical which can cause sensations of pleasure, helping to alleviate the blue feelings that can sometimes come with swings in hormone levels.
When it comes to choosing exercises to participate in during pregnancy, the key is not to overdo and be aware of what your body needs. One of the safest and most beneficial exercises for pregnant women is swimming. Because the water provides a cushioning effect, pregnant women find it easier and more comfortable to work out in the water. The amount of swimming you do depends on your physical condition, how advanced your pregnancy is, and what your doctor recommends.
Another exercise which should be a staple of every exercise program for pregnant women is walking. This is by far the easiest of all exercises and one which you can tailor to your own specific needs, whether you are pregnant or not. Strenuous walking is not necessary during pregnancy, just getting out and keeping your body moving for about 30 minutes can make all the difference.
Among the most popular forms of exercise for pregnant women is yoga. Yoga or other stretching exercises can help to keep muscles limber, soothe stress, and strengthen lower back muscles, which will be taxed during labor. It also provides a momentary escape, allowing you to distance yourself from the stress of your daily life and become more in touch with what is happening inside your body.
Of course, before you commence with any kind of exercise program for pregnant women, you should always consult with your doctor first. Not every woman responds to pregnancy the same way and so not all women will be able to withstand the same amount of exercise. Your doctor can advise you as to what exercises are safest for you and for your developing baby.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean that you can’t also be fit. In fact, staying fit can be one of the best things you can do for yourself during this challenging time. If you are concerned about staying healthy during your pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor and create an exercise program that works for you.