Pregnancy Exercise – Finding the Best Pregnancy Workout Plan
What activities are best for pregnancy exercise? How should I structure my pregnancy workout plan? How much exercise is too much for a pregnant woman? These are questions women often ask when they become pregnant, particularly if they are already very fit, or if they are concerned about gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.
Exercise during pregnancy is good for most expecting mothers, health experts agree. Should you be exercising during this pregnancy? What kinds of pregnancy exercise are best for you? These are questions that must be discussed with your doctor. Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different. Therefore, a pregnancy workout plan that is right for your friend or sister may not be the best plan for you. The following are some general guidelines to consider when crafting your own pregnancy workout plan, but please – listen to your body! Stop immediately if you do not feel well, and consult your physician.
The current American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines say most pregnant women should exercise about 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Is running an acceptable pregnancy exercise? ACOG says you can usually keep running during pregnancy if you were a runner before becoming pregnant. Right here on our blog, you’ll see success stories of many women who continued running during pregnancy (and even completing half and full marathons during pregnancy!) The ACOG guidelines for pregnancy exercise also offer practical tips for avoiding dehydration, over-stretching, and injury.
WebMD.com says that maintaining a regular routine of pregnancy exercise can help you stay healthy and feel good too. Regular exercise during pregnancy can decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. It also may help to prevent gestational diabetes, relieve stress, and build strength and stamina needed for labor. Pregnancy exercise also keeps weight gain within a healthy range.
Your pregnancy exercise routine should probably be a little less intense than your pre-pregnancy routine. Experts, including the ACOG guidelines, advocate using the “talk test” as a guide for exertion – you should be able to carry on a conversation without being short of breath, struggling to finish your words, or gasping for air. Most agree that contact sports, or activities that carry a risk of falling, or activities in extreme environments – such as scuba diving – are best avoided.
Pregnancy is not the time to embark on a new, intense fitness regimen. If you were not active before, your pregnancy exercise plan might consist of walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga. Generally, the ACOG guidelines recommend you begin with light activity for just a few minutes, and gradually increase your exercise sessions by about five minutes, to increase until you are exercising the recommended 30 minutes per day. If you were very fit before pregnancy, you can probably continue to exercise as you normally would, paying attention to your level of exertion and modifying for comfort. Be sure to stay well hydrated and consume the adequate calories needed – pregnancy is not the time to being a restrictive diet. If you are obese, you might benefit from a consultation with a nutritionist, in addition to your doctor, and establish healthy eating habits to maximize the delivery of nutrients to your baby while avoiding excess weight gain.
Tell us – what are your favorite pregnancy exercises? Do you follow a special prenatal workout plan, or just continue to do what you were doing before pregnancy?
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