The amount and type of exercise that is best for you during your pregnancy depends on your general health and fitness level before you were pregnant and the course of your pregnancy. Consulting with your health care provider or midwife is advisable before beginning a prenatal program. They would be able to tell you if you have any conditions that may prohibit you from performing regular exercise. That said, "healthy pregnant women are encouraged to exercise regularly, 3-4 times a week, 30 minutes each time."
An "IDEAL" and effective exercise program combines:
1. Pregnancy conditioning exercises
2. Low impact aerobic
3. Strength training
Choosing pregnancy conditioning exercises that target the muscles most affected by pregnancy will help you stay in good condition during pregnancy, help you use the muscles more effectively during birth and speed your postpartum recovery. Some conditioning exercises include pelvic floor contractions (ie: kegels), squatting and pelvic tilts.
As a pregnant woman, you probably feel that your body is just not the same as it was before you were pregnant. Thats because its NOT! Many physical changes that occur during pregnancy can directly affect your tolerance for exercise. Whatever exercise program you choose, keep in mind that your body is different now and your exercise regime should reflect these changes.
Some of the physical changes that occur in the pregnant body which affect your choice of activity or exercise are:
Hormonal changes - Relaxin enter the system and soften connective tissue.
Postural changes - Center of gravity changes which affects your sense of balance
Cardio output changes - Due to the increase in blood volume and heart rate, the heart has to work harder at pumping sufficient blood through the ventricles.
Body temperature and metabolic rate is higher. - You can overheat faster.
Avoid exercising during the day when it is most hot.
As your pregnancy progresses into the 2nd and 3rd trimester, there are certain precautions that you will need to incorporate in your exercise program in order to make it safe. Exercises that do NOT involve jumping, bouncing or leaving the ground are preferable. Also, be sure to avoid any activity that puts you at risk for falling or increases the chance of trauma to your abdomen because a fall during pregnancy could prove to be fatal for both you and your baby.
There are definitely certain activities that should be excluded altogether until you have had your baby such as:
Bench step classes
Amusement part rides
Deep abdominal breathing including ribcage and posterior breathing
Kelly McBride is a Certified Master Pilates Instructor of Pre/Postnatal Pilates . She founded Belly Pilates in 2005. Belly Pilates, founded in 2005, is the only Pilates & Maternal Wellness Studio of its kind. Belly is solely dedicated to provide Education, Energy & Exercise for Every Stage of a Woman's Life. http://bellypilates.com
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