Monthly Archives: August 2017

Exercising and Pregnancy – Keeping You and Your Baby Safe

Planning for pregnancy and exerciseThe best time to start planning your health, weight and exercise program is the same time as you are starting to plan your pregnancy; having a strong, fit and healthy body will not only prepare you for the strength and stamina required during your pregnancy, but it will also increase your chances of conception and an easier pregnancy, labour and birth!The other reason to start your health, weight and exercise program prior to conception, is that pregnancy is no time to start anything new as it may cause unwanted stress to you and your baby. Any activity you are doing in the 6 months leading up to your pregnancy is generally OK to continue through the term of your pregnancy, however a visit to your Doctor or Obstetrician is always recommended to discuss the appropriateness of your activities and the intensity at which you should be training through the different stages of your pregnancy.Strength training is now recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and has been associated with:
Making pregnancy easier
Helping avoid weight gain
Decreasing time in labour
Making labour easier
Quicker recovery after birth
Reduces tiredness
Better control over body-fat fluctuations
Increased strength to perform daily activities during and after pregnancy
Strength to cope with the lifestyle changes of a new baby
Exercising during pregnancy

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Regular exercise during pregnancy will provide you with many benefits when compared to the alternative – a sedentary pregnancy! Keeping fit and active during your pregnancy will assist in preparing your body for the intensity of labour, will assist in your ability to cope with the physically demanding challenges that motherhood brings with it and will also help you to reach your pre-pregnancy weight much faster.The types of exercise you choose do both pre-pregnancy and during your pregnancy should depend on the types of exercise that you enjoy doing; if you don’t enjoy what you do, chances are you won’t keep it up for long – especially if you are planning for the 6 months prior to your pregnancy and the 9 months to follow.Exercises could include:
Aqua aerobics or swimming
Walking
Yoga, pilates or stretching
Dancing
Cycling (on a stationary bicycle once you are pregnant)
Pregnancy exercise classes
Strength Training
Personal Training and pregnancyA great way to keep motivated during your exercise program and to ensure that you are doing the best by your body throughout your journey is to find yourself a personal trainer who is experienced in exercise during pregnancy.There are many advantages to using a personal trainer as they will be aware of the safety considerations for you and your baby as well as correct technique, nutrition, suitable and practical exercise for the preparation of giving birth and of course, support and encouragement!In particular, the benefits of having a personal trainer is to start a supervised strength training program in the six months leading up to your planned pregnancy (and from my experience, healthy clients who plan for pregnancy certainly fall pregnant quickly).Safety considerations for exercise during pregnancyTo ensure that your exercise program provides you with all of the wonderful benefits outlined above, you will also need to ensure your safety and that of your baby, so below is a list of safety considerations to be aware of; and remember to always speak to your Doctor or Obstetrician if you are unsure.1. Avoid Overheating. Your growing baby does not have the same ability to dissipate heat as you do. To avoid overheating:
Avoid prolonged exercise.
Stay well hydrated.
Do not use sweating as an indicator of how hot you may be getting.
Avoid exercising on hot, humid days. Use fans during hot weather.
Wear light, loose fitting clothing. Cotton is best.
2. Avoid saunas and steam baths at all times during pregnancy.3. Avoid high intensity exercise. Studies have indicated that when a mother’s heart rate stays in a range of approximately 140bpm, the foetus has no abnormal responses. To keep exercise intensity at a safe level, follow these guidelines:

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Change from an intermediate or advanced aerobics program to a lighter paced program.
Learn how to measure your heart rate and check it regularly.
Be realistic about the need to exercise in moderation.
Have a prolonged cool-down after the aerobic portion of the workout.
4. Avoid frequent and prolonged exercise after week 28 of your pregnancy.5. Limit the amount of exercise that you do lying on your back. This is of particular concern from your second trimester on.6. Avoid the use of hand weights over 0.5kg in weight during aerobic classes.7. Perform Pelvic Floor (Kegel) Exercises.8. Wear a good supportive bra.9. Avoid rapid changes in direction and be very cautious if you are doing Step exercise classes.10. Stretch gently.11. Have a light snack approximately 2 hours before exercise and carry a small carton of fruit juice to your workout.12. Stop exercise: if at any time during your exercise session you feel very hot, faint, dizzy, short of breath, experience vaginal bleeding, have palpitations, blurred vision, or severe or continuous headaches – stop immediately . It is also important to stop if you experience lower abdominal pain, tightness or cramping, back pain or pubic pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your obstetrician.

Exercise and Pregnancy – Be a Strong and a Healthy Mother

Exercise during pregnancy is a subject of uncertainty among many expectant mothers with some choosing to err on the side of caution and cut out any strenuous exercise from their day-to-day experience.However, maintaining a gentle exercise regime throughout a nine month pregnancy is perfectly safe if you fall within the bracket of a low-risk pregnancy and have been given medical clearance to exercise.Researches have suggested exercise does not stunt growth, but can reduce the amount of fat a baby is born with, giving them a head start on combating obesity in the future and also help to reduce labour time.Some women fear that exercise will increase the risk of miscarriage, malformations, brain damage to the baby, or material injury, but this is not the case. During pregnancy, exercise can help you stay in shape and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery. Pregnant women who exercise are likely to return to their original shapes sooner, feel increased energy, and fend off stress more readily.

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Pregnancy is not a time to embark on a new intense regime but it is perfectly safe to do some good exercise. You need to listen to your body, exercise at a pace and intensity which is comfortable for you.Pregnancy causes so many physical and lifestyle adaptations, it can be overwhelming. The important thing is to be in tune with your body, and to focus on bringing new life into the world.If you exercised before pregnancy, you can probably continue to exercise at the same level while you are pregnant as long as you are feeling comfortable and your doctor says it is OK. If you have not exercised for a while, begin with as little as five minutes of physical activity a day. Build up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on, until you reach at least 30 minutes a day.It is best to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. You may have a medical condition that would make exercise harmful to you or your baby. If your doctor approves, you can start exercising at a level that does not cause pain, shortness of breath or excessive tiredness. You may then slowly increase your activity. If you feel uncomfortable, short of breath or very tired, you should reduce your exercise level. If you have already been exercising, it is easier to keep exercising during pregnancy. If you have not exercised before, you need to start very slowly. Many women find that they need to slow down their level of exercise during pregnancy.

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The most comfortable exercises are those that do not require your body to bear extra weight. Swimming and stationary cycling are good options. Walking and low-impact exercises are usually well-tolerated. You and your doctor will need to decide what is best for you and your baby.Although exercise during pregnancy is generally good for both mother and baby, you will need to proceed with caution if you have a history of preterm labor or certain medical conditions, including: Diabetes, High blood pressure, Heart disease and problem with the placenta that can cause excessive bleeding before or during delivery.The resource below will show you everything you need to know about Exercise and pregnancy into the world.

Safe Exercise and Pregnancy

If you have not been active pre-pregnancy, be careful about ramping up things too much. If you were active before being pregnant listen to your body and still do the things you enjoy within reason.Monitor your body temperature. If you feel yourself getting too hot, take a break and cool down. Keep your heart beat to a maximum of 145 beats per minute.Stay hydrated and refuel after your workout. Most importantly listen to your body and don’t over do it.Some exercises that are great when pregnant are:Swimming – in the water you weigh just a tenth of what you do on land, making water workouts the perfect choice for pregnant women, especially near the end when you are feeling big and heavy.

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Working out in the water boosts your strength and flexibility but it is gentle on the joints – plus there’s much less risk of overheating your body. Water workouts can also help easy the swelling of legs and feet associated with pregnancy.Walking – just about anyone can do it, anywhere any time. It may be as simple as walking to school to pick up your other children. If busy try 10 minute intervals, all exercise counts when it adds up during the day.It is safe to walk right up until your delivery day (even on delivery day if you are anxious to get your baby’s contractions moving). Best of all it is free, no schedules or timetables and no gym to join.What about after the baby is born?Depending on the type of delivery you had this will vary. No exercise should be started until you have had your 6 week post baby checkup. If you had a surgical delivery this will be closer to 12 weeks. This allows time for your body to heal.Once the baby is born there is often little time to exercise. Sleep (or lack there of) and the babies needs come first. If you have school aged children as well this adds a lot of time pressure to your day.There are 2 exercises we love that involve baby

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1) Arm raises – this can be done with or without a ball. Lie on your back, hold the baby securely under the arms and lift up and down. 1 set of 15 reps. This is a great game for baby, great for toning mums arms as biceps and triceps both get used.Please do not attempt this activity straight after a babies feed, or they may be sick.2) Walking with the pram – some days it is a struggle to get the older children to school, so even if you walk your kids to school put baby in the pram, and get some sunshine it will make you feel better.Doing something every day, even small will help you feel good about yourself, and help lose any excess baby weight.