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Monday, August 28, 2006

Pregnancy Article - "Stay fit during pregnancy"

"Baby on board: Stay fit during pregnancy

Consult your doctor, watch for warning signs

Pete Estabrooks, For CanWest News Service

Published: Monday, August 28, 2006

Exercise during pregnancy, once considered off limits, is now a valid choice. Mostly, it will appeal to women who relish the idea that they have a say in their physical destiny, pregnant or not.


Women who are already exercising regularly will be pleasantly surprised how much they can safely continue to do, and they will reap all the same rewards of pre-pregnancy fitness and then some.

If you hated exercise prior to becoming pregnant, though, chances are good that having an extra body on board is not exactly going to warm you up to the process.

Conversely, if you are a fitness junkie with a habit for going at it hard, you may hate the fact modification is warranted.


Ligaments and joints become more lax and mobile during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, so aggressive stretching, high kicks and hot yoga should be avoided. In the second trimester, lying on your back should be limited or avoided.


During the third trimester, alterations in a woman's centre of gravity and balance can compromise moves once done with the strength of a boxer and the grace of a ballerina. It is not something to hate, but something to be aware of as you plan your exercise agenda.

Building a baby is serious work and may call for more of your physical capacity than you might initially assume. For that reason, your physician should be aware of your exercise habits, and her/his approval is required prior to beginning or maintaining a fitness program during pregnancy.

The risks for mom include low blood sugar, fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries, while the baby's risk lies in overheating and mom's decreased uterine blood flow.

It stands to reason all mothers and their respective partners should know that some symptoms call for an immediate cessation of exercise and a doctor's attention. These symptoms include vaginal bleeding, muscle weakness, dizziness, chest pain, amniotic fluid leakage and inability to catch one's breath.

Don't mess around --there are two lives depending on you.


You need a plan. Remember, this is the baby's room for nine months. How far to push yourself is usually intuitive but if you don't exercise already, it may be a hard concept to grasp.

Your doctor and a professional fitness trainer or physiotherapist can be avenues to figuring out how much exercise is appropriate.

You do need to move on a regular basis.If you are hard core, you need to realize pregnancy is a time to maintain your fitness while sparing the energy necessary to play the creationist role. Everything from breathing to peeing seems to take more out of you, so pace yourself.

Pregnancy has often been compared with a snowflake --every one is different. So tailor your fitness approach to your own goals and lifestyle, just as you would if you were not pregnant.


The costs associated with inactivity during pregnancy include increased risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension and preterm delivery.

The exercise payoffs are feelings of well-being, stress relief and improved co-ordination. Exercise has been proven to strengthen the body, facilitating an easier labour. And for many active women, exercise lessens some of the discomforts of pregnancy.

In most cases, the costs of doing nothing are far greater than the risks associated with doing something. © The Vancouver Province 2006"


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