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exercising

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Visit the Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center for special pregnancy classes and personalized fitness programs.

Regular exercise benefits you throughout your life. It keeps you strong, builds endurance, gives you energy and promotes a feeling of well-being. Women who are active during preconception and pregnancy report many benefits:

  • Reduced weight gain
  • Improved mood
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Reduced pregnancy discomforts like backaches, swelling and constipation
  • Increased ability to get back in shape after pregnancy
  • Faster labors and less need for induction are reported in some studies
  • Fewer medical interventions are noted by some studies as epidural and operative births are less common among active women

Consult your physician before beginning or continuing an exercise program.
Exercise Guidelines for Preconception and Pregnancy
Exercise Stop Signs
Best Exercises for Pregnancy
Strenuous Exercise and Miscarriage

Exercise Guidelines for Preconception and Pregnancy

Your fitness level before pregnancy will be your best guide to exercise as you try to conceive. Active women can continue most activities at or slightly below prepregnancy levels. Pregnant women should exercise at the low end of the intensity scale.

Recommendations

Start slowly if it has been a long time since you have exercised regularly. You can begin with as little as five minutes a day and gradually build up to 30 minutes.

Exercise three times a week. A regular and consistent program is best.

Warm up and cool down properly before and after exercise. This is especially important during pregnancy when your connective tissue becomes more flexible and susceptible to injury. Stretch your muscles gently for 10-20 seconds (don't bounce) to avoid sore muscles.

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to avoid becoming dehydrated. Remember to take a drink every fifteen minutes, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Avoid vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather. It is important to keep your core body temperature below 100.4 degrees. A body temperature that remains elevated for prolonged periods can impair fetal development-particularly during the first six weeks of pregnancy.

Do not exercise when you have a fever. You want to keep your core body temperature below 100.4 degrees, so do not increase your temperature with exercise.

Exercise at a comfortable intensity. Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. Use the "talk test" as your gauge. You should be able to speak normally during your workout. A qualified exercise instructor or your physician can help you determine your target heart rate.

Wear comfortable footwear that provides strong ankle and arch support.

Wear comfortable clothing that will help you remain cool.

Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when you need to adjust your activity level.

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Exercise Stop Signs

An active woman who is trying to conceive should be especially attentive to warning signs. If any of the following symptoms occur, stop exercising, and consult your physician:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Faintness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Severe joint pain

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Best Exercises for Pregnancy

Most exercises are safe during pregnancy. Remember that your prepregnancy fitness level will guide you during your pregnancy. If you have had a sedentary lifestyle, start your preconception fitness program slowly.

Kegel Krunches

Walking is a good overall exercise for anyone. You will raise your cardiovascular level and keep fit with minimal stress to your joints.

Cycling can be done both indoors and out, and is an activity that does not put weight on your joints. Jogging is an efficient cardiovascular activity for women who have exercised regularly prior to pregnancy.

Swimming is often ranked as the best and safest activity for pregnancy. The large muscle groups in the arms and legs move weightlessly through water, protecting your bones and joints.

Low-Impact Aerobics in a group setting can be especially motivating. Try to find a class designed for pregnant women to be sure the routines are safe for you.

Good Samaritan Health & Fitness Center Classes

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