5 Must-Know Tips for a Safe Pregnancy Workout

pregnantImmediately after the initial shock of "holy crap, I'm pregnant" wore off, I started wondering what I could and couldn't do as a "lady with-child." I knew things like booze and sushi were off-limits, but other things -- hot showers, salicylic acid -- I wasn't sure about.

The question that weighed heaviest on my mind, though, as someone who works out, was: Would I be able to keep up my exercise routine while pregnant? When I asked the nurse at my doctor's office, I believe her exact response was, "Sure. Pregnant chicks can pretty much do everything they did before." Great!

Of course, there are a few precautions ...

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According to Sherie Libby, R.N. and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, all of us preggers can -- and should -- take part in some type of physical fitness during our gestation. We just need to do so with (a little bit) of caution. Here are five great tips for exercising while pregnant.

Be careful not to over-exert yourself. Listen to your body; it will naturally give you the signals when you need to slow down or forgo a certain portion of your fitness routine. Don't exercise to the point of becoming breathless or exhausted. If you reach this point, it means that both you and your baby are not receiving the oxygen that you need! 

Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. It may seem obvious, but drinking water is important before, during, and after exercise. Also, it's best to avoid exercise during hot weather. It's not only dehydrating, it makes everything more strenuous.

Avoid running or bicycling on uneven, rocky areas. When you're pregnant, your body releases a hormone called Relaxin, which causes the joints to stretch easily. Hence, ankle strains and sprains can occur more frequently during this time. Be sure to wear well supportive shoes that will not only support your ankles, but will also provide comfort -- no matter where you're running or cycling.

Try aquatic fitness classes. Water-based exercises are wonderful for providing an environment that's safe for expectant moms. They can also relieve swelling in legs, ankles, and feet due to water retention. Aquatic fitness gives the mother a choice to exercise in chest-high water or deep water. Chest-high water is a great way to get an aerobic workout and give gravity a rest!  Deep water is completely non-impact and gives pregnant women a wonderful and challenging fitness plan!  

Try weight-training. Don't lift too much, but weight training is important for strengthening the upper body and lower abdominals. And be sure to avoid lifting weights above your head.

So, there you have it. Exercise is totally safe -- and totally important -- for pregnant women. Just follow a few guidelines and you're good to go.

What kind of exercise did you do while pregnant?

 

Image via futurestreet/Flickr

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