Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exercise and Pregnancy

I've never been pregnant before (shocker), but I've observed my wife and other women deal with pregnancies over the years. One thing that I've noticed is that no two pregnancies are the same. Some women seem to be able to go full steam up until their delivery date, while others are sick or even bed ridden just weeks into the pregnancy. I tell all my clients to consult a physician before starting an exercise program, but I really emphasize this if they are pregnant.

It used to be that if someone was expecting, they were told to take things easy and cut back on the exercise, but today we understand that appropriate exercise during pregnancy can benefit both the mother and the unborn child. Some of the benefits of exercise include:

* more energy
* better sleep
* improved muscle strength and endurance
* alleviate lower back pain
* stress reduction
* prepare you for a smoother delivery
* help you get back your pre-pregnancy figure quicker.

During pregnancy there are many changes to the body such as increased oxygen demand, increased blood volume and blood pressure, weight gain, hormone changes which cause ligaments to stretch, etc. As a result, special accommodations should be made and the following precautions should be followed.

-Avoid supine (lying down) exercises, especially towards the end of the pregnancy.
-Avoid contact sports, ballistic movements, and high impact activities.
-Walking, swimming, resistance training, and low impact activities are safer options.
-Avoid exercising in hot and humid temperatures.
-Don't be too intense or work out until exhaustion.
-If you haven't exercised regularly in the past, then you should ease into it slowly.
-Drink plenty of water before, during, and after working out.
-Listen to your body.

If you have a history of miscarriages, high risk pregnancies, or any other medical conditions, then you will want to take special precautions and as I said before, consult your physician. My hat is off to women who make the selfless sacrifice of enduring a pregnancy and giving birth. One way to improve your quality of life and maintain good health during pregnancy is to participate in an appropriate exercise program that is tailored to your needs and condition.


Emz said...

awesome post.

I swore by running when I was pregnant.

Ran 8 miles 2 days before my girl was born. The best!!

Andrew Opala said...

EMZ is hard core ... I'm a man and I can't even carry my own weight let alone another person growing inside me!

Raymond said...

My wife did lots of walking, swimming and yoga while pregnant and that was more than enough for her, I can't imagine wanting to do any more exertion than that in the final stages but for sure you need to do something to help the body

Kelly Ulm said...

I can't imagine what women go through while being pregnant but I think if you already train, it would be easier to stick with it versus starting a routine while pregnant. Emz is beyond hard core, she is a beast! Amazing!