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Active Pregnancy, Healthy Pregnancy
Tips for moms-to-be who want to be active during pregnancy

By Staff Writer

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Active PregnancyDon't go it alone

Whether you're looking to incorporate activity to get into better shape or to retain as much of your shape as possible during your pregnancy, talk it over with your healthcare provider about your goals and discuss some options.

Let your doctor know, as you progress in your pregnancy, which exercises are feeling good and which ones you're afraid to let go of completely—if temporarily. Your providers are interested in both your health and your baby's health. Be candid and then listen to them.

What happens to baby when you get mild to moderate exercise?

Well, what happens in your body? Some—not all—oxygen and glucose is needed to perform the activity and this will come from the supply that's going to your baby. This is why it's key that you not overdo it and take more of these critical resources from baby than is safe. Post-exercise, baby may experience a rush of oxygen and glucose and may become more active at that time. This is okay as long as you're not working too hard.1

From zero to active

If you're new to exercising regularly, warming up your muscles before and then cooling them down after is important. Generally speaking, stretching and warming the body signals, "okay, we're moving now." Cooling periods help your body adjust back to its familiar movements. Warming up and cooling down may also minimize muscle soreness from new activity. Consider mild or moderate activities as a great way to physically prepare your body for the birthing process.1

There are emotional benefits to be had by mild exercise as well . . . activate and release some good ol' endorphins into your system. Endorphins are a type of peptide that are able to produce a feeling of well-being, and they're produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus during exercise.

Taking the pressure off

Ideal fitness activities for pregnancy:
o Walking: it's easy and you can do it anywhere at a brisk or easy pace . . . don't forget to leash up and bring your dog!
o Water works: swimming and water aerobics are fantastic for pregnancy workouts. Little to no impact on your joints, and your body can be "held" in the water.2

Be sure you drink water–even if you're in the water and don't feel dehydrated. Your muscles are still working and moving, and your body needs it.3

Finding friends in fitness

Meet other moms-to-be by taking exercise classes specifically geared for you and your body's needs. Chances are good that if you're going to the same prenatal yoga or Pilates classes, you may have even more in common.2

Game changer: athlete morphs to mommy-jock

If your body is already conditioned and working out is as necessary as eating or drinking water every day, you may still be able to do the activities at a modified or less-intense pace.1

Note: "modify" does not mean come to a standstill

Changing your regular fitness routine doesn't mean you need to cut it out completely and remain stationary for 38-40 weeks. That sounds like a physical and emotional train wreck for an athlete. More and more moms-to-be are talking over their needs to run, bike, lift weights with their healthcare providers, and are performing these activities well into their pregnancies.

Let's look at running, for example

"The key is your own comfort level. Even pros like Mary Decker Slaney, who holds five U.S. track records, slowed down in her seventh month after experiencing abdominal pains precipitated by running." says WebMD.1 Some women continue to run during their pregnancy as long as it feels good and they aren't experiencing any pain. Be sure to talk about it with your doc or midwife.

Tips for all
• Warm up and cool down your muscles. This is critical ladies, as muscles are working extra hard for both of you
• Avoid exercises on your back after the first trimester, unless they feel good and you have discussed it with your healthcare provider.
• Go easy on the joints, lady–no deep knee bends (unless your body is conditioned to handle it), and no overflexing or overextending the knee joints
• Stay in tune with your body regarding pain and if you feel pain, stop immediately.
• Cut out the contact sports and high-risk-of-trauma activities (horseback riding or downhill skiing) while you're carrying.
• Focus on a healthy diet, including lots of water . . . and don't forget your prenatal vitamins.

A healthy active pregnancy has benefits for both you and your little one.

1. "Staying Fit While Pregnant," accessed August 30, 2012, http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/staying-fit-pregnant.
2. "7 Ways to Stay Active During Pregnancy," accessed August 31, 2012, http://blogs.babycenter.com/life_and_home/7-ways-to-stay-active-during-pregnancy/.
3. "Stay Active During Pregnancy: Quick Tips," accessed August 30, 2012, http://healthfinder.gov/prevention/ViewTool.aspx?toolId=29.


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