This week starts the first post in the Losing the Baby Weight series. Like I mentioned last week it has been difficult for me to start writing about this because there are so many different variables that come into play with how quickly a mama recovers after having a baby.
Here are the topics for the next 4 weeks:
Wednesday, June 12: Pregnancy & Exercise
Wednesday, June 19: What To Expect After You Deliver
Wednesday, June 26: The First Six Weeks
Wednesday, July 3: Nutrition
As a personal trainer and yoga instructor I felt confident in my ability to answer my clients questions regarding exercise and pregnancy. Then I became pregnant. Welcome unwanted advice and opinions from strangers. It might be because I taught yoga and bootcamp classes up until I delivered but I heard my share of comments that were pretty judgmental about how active I was while pregnant with Caden. I have learned that you will never please everyone. Being a good parent is about making informed decisions that will be best for your family.
In hopes to encourage you mamas-to-be I am sharing my experiences of exercising while pregnant and also what I have learned from researching this topic. The majority of this post will focus on those who already exercise. If you are pregnant and have never exercised now is the perfect time to start (always check with your doctor before you begin a exercise program). Walking, stretching, and gentle yoga are great activities for those new to physical activity.
If you have persistent bleeding during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, pregnancy induced hypertension, preterm labor with current or a prior pregnancy or any other questionable contraindication to exercise please consult with your doctor.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Continuing to exercise during pregnancy at a moderate intensity level can:
- Improve sleep. Many pregnant women have a hard time falling and staying asleep but those who exercise say that the quality of sleep is greater and they feel more rested in the morning.
- Reduce the discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise can lessen the amount of aches and pains you feel as your baby grows.
- Reduce stress. Growing a baby can be stressful. Studies have found that after exercise the brain releases chemicals that actually put you in a better mood.
- Prepare your body for childbirth. The better shape you are in the more prepared your body will be to handle the demands of labor. It is still going to hurt but your body will be able to adapt to the stress and in some cases labor might be shorter. Might be. It is not a guarantee but it cant hurt to try.
- Improve your self image. When you take care of yourself you feel better.
- Speed up your weight loss after baby is born. This is the major reason to exercise while pregnant. Of course if you have not been cleared by your doctor don’t exercise and don’t feel guilty.
These are all reason to love exercise!
Exercise Intensity, Heart Rate, & Rate of Perceived Exertion
Over the years the recommendations issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) on pregnancy and exercise intensity have dramatically changed: