Exercising while pregnant – is it smart?

So many of us women start off every year with the most honorable and ambitious New Year’s goal – to get in shape!

Then two weeks go by and we are busy with work and suddenly we find ourselves saying, “What New Year’s resolution?”.  And then to satisfy our guilt, we use the stairs instead of the elevator on our way out of the office.

However, besides New Year’s, there is another time when our desires to become healthy

suddenly take front and center stage.  And that is when we find out we are pregnant.

It’s not that we want to keep our big belly’s from showing a large bump – as this is often something we proudly show off – but that we are now responsible for a new life inside us.  And of course the better in shape we are, the better we can handle getting back into shape after delivery.

Therefore, one of the first things we do is want to get in the best shape.    But hold the horses, not so fast.  Ends up the rules change and what we might have considered to be fine and dandy – isn’t.

First Trimester.   This time period is months 1 through 3.    It is the time when most miscarriages occur, and therefore a very serious time indeed to take proper care of our bodies.

Exercises for the first trimester should be moderate and low impact.  Of course if you are prone to complicated pregnancies you should talk to your doctor.   If uncertain, keep to mild exercising such as swimming which is relaxing and definitely low impact.

Of course the first trimester is also when morning sickness prevails greatly.  If this is the case, just take it easy and don’t worry about working up a sweat.   Just wait until your body is through this phase and you can stand up for more than a few hours without running to the bathroom.

Keep in mind during the second and third trimester, your body is gaining more weight and putting more pressure on your hips, knees and back.    Therefore avoid exercises that put stress on these areas.  Again, swimming is an excellent choice.     It might be a good idea to lay off the elliptical machine for awhile.    However, if you have a recumbent exercise bike, these are good to use at a leisurely pace, as these are designed to be easy on the back.

Remember when exercising not to worry about setting new goals.   The goal should be to stay healthy and that’s all.   Set your new ambitions later when baby has arrived and your body has recovered.

Also, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before exercising.  With all that extra weight, you may find yourself working up a sweat more easily than before.  The last thing you want is to become dehydrated.

Lastly,  never force yourself to exercise when tired.   Tired women who are pregnant are more prone to injury.

On one hand those who don’t like exercising have a great way to start, but at a slow pace – with a great excuse.  On the other hand, those who love exercising can easily find new fun ways to exercise and for good cause – but also must be careful to keep it easy and keep it slow.

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