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When I think of the right amount of exercise during pregnancy, for some reason I always think of Charlotte from Sex and the City. Do you remember how when she finally got pregnant she was suddenly terrified to do her normal daily running? She had tried for so long and even the remote possibility that she might hurt her baby was keeping her away.
If you've struggled with getting pregnant, or even if you haven't and this is your first baby, figuring out the right amount of exercise can be scary.
The fact is though, there is such a wide range of what people do when pregnant that it's hard to say exactly what is safe and what to avoid. Some women continue to run marathons while pregnant, right up until their due date. Others cut back on everything and just stick to walking to avoid any possible danger.
Studies show that there are huge benefits to exercise during pregnancy that range from diminishing some of the negative side effects of pregnancy such as backaches, fatigue, and stress to decreased chances of gestational diabetes and other serious pregnancy-related conditions. Many experts also say that if you do some exercise during pregnancy it can help make labor and delivery go faster and more smoothly.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends about 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. What constitutes moderate probably depends on your fitness level. If you normally run marathons once a week, moderate may be a few miles a day. If you never get out and move, moderate is probably walking.
You should definitely consult your own doctor to see what his or her personal recommendation is for your exercise regimen. Typically doctors will say that whatever you were doing before pregnancy should be fine to continue, as long as it is low impact. The big things to avoid are sports where you might fall, get hit in your abdomen with a ball, jump a lot, any jarring motion, and deep knee bends. You should also avoid working out in very hot, humid weather.
Even if you haven't exercised before getting pregnant, you can certainly start during pregnancy, especially if it's a low strain exercise program. Walking would be the perfect place to start, and you can work your way up to 30 minutes a day.
An excellent type of exercise for pregnant women is pregnancy yoga. Many women credit these prenatal yoga poses for more relaxed and calm pregnancies and quicker, easier labor. If nothing else, it helps to lower your stress level and increase your flexibility.
There are also types of ballet classes that are no impact and can work on helping to strengthen muscles and increase your energy levels. I love The Bar Method and Pure Barre, and always feel the strongest and the most in shape when doing their exercise routines. Both use the body's own muscles in isometric movements to strengthen and lean out your muscles, and both claim to be totally safe during pregnancy, with a few modifications.
Many women enjoy dancing, whether just for fun or within a class atmosphere, during pregnancy. Dancing is another stress relief and can actually soothe your baby into better sleep, and plus, it's fun!
Other really great, low-impact, and normally safe types of exercise that you can do for all of pregnancy include swimming, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines.
You should always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially during pregnancy. If you have pre existing conditions or issues that could cause threatened miscarriage or preterm labor, they may not allow you to exercise during pregnancy at all. Follow the doctor's orders.
Also, when it comes to flying during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure you don't have any high risk symptoms and you should be able to fly up to about the eighth month.