Prenatal exercise should be a part of every woman’s pregnancy plan.
Are you dreaming of a whittled waistline after delivery? Most women hope to regain some semblance of their pre-baby bodies after birth, but getting there can take longer and be more work than many women realize. Fortunately, making an effort to keep yourself as healthy as possible during your pregnancy and using a prenatal exercise plan may get you to your goal just a bit faster.
Prenatal exercise programs must be handled gently, and on a case-by-case basis.
It is important to remember that your fear of gaining baby weight is no reason to start a strenuous prenatal exercise program all of a sudden. If you haven’t been physically active prior to your pregnancy, make sure to start with light exercise only. If you have been exercising regularly and have developed solid physical stamina, make sure to talk with your doctor to make sure your particular fitness choices are safe (you might want to avoid kickboxing, for example) but most routines will continue to be safe until your belly grows large enough to alter your center of gravity.
Prenatal exercise routines like yoga may be one of the most advertised types for mommies-to-be, but it certainly isn’t your only choice. Often selected for its low-impact, high flexibility format, many women swear by it. If you are a runner, an aerobics buff, or a Zumba fanatic, there isn’t any reason you can’t continue—with your doctor’s consent. Some exercises may need to be altered while working out to keep you safe, and as your belly grows you may need to turn jumps and fancy foot work into more simple moves. Because your belly changes the way you walk, and your center of gravity, your risk of falling is much higher—so be cautious and use common sense.
Make sure that while exercising to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after working out—the majority of which should be water. If you should begin to feel overheated, light headed, or dizzy make sure to stop and sit down until you begin to feel better. If you are far enough along to feel your baby’s movements, make sure that he or she is moving as they normally would.
Prenatal exercise, combined with a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy can help you look and feel your best throughout your pregnancy. This isn’t the time to worry about losing weight, or dropping inches, but instead on the health of your baby. Even though the old theory of “eating for two” still gives many women an excuse to over-indulge, an extra 300 calories daily in addition to your regular caloric intake is all that is required to keep you and your baby growing safely and steadily.
If you are considering an exercise routine, or aren’t sure how to adjust your current routine, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hessel so you can work together for an answer that keeps you looking and feeling your best, and keeps your baby safe too.