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Exercise for the Pregnant Woman

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Write this article, I decided after I got pregnant. I'm a professional resume writer, I have a lot of sedentary work and therefore I really need exercise. Everyone knows that exercise is one of the key factors in living a healthy life. Unfortunately, the topic of exercise becomes virtually forgotten when a woman becomes pregnant. Exercise is important at every stage of life and is just as important during pregnancy. In addressing exercise during pregnancy there are 4 areas that need to be considered.

First things first, almost every woman can exercise during pregnancy. There are exceptions however, when it would be unwise for a woman to exercise. Women with pre-existing heart disease, previous pregnancy complications, (such as incompetent cervix or a history of premature labor) or women who have been advised by their OB/GYN not to exercise, should not exercise during pregnancy as it will likely cause serious pregnancy complications and may result in premature death for the mother or growing baby.

The next area of consideration would be the benefits on why a pregnant woman might wish to follow an exercise regimen during her pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy hosts many benefits that a woman would probably never even think of. A woman who exercises during pregnancy will have an increase in energy and will experience better sleep throughout her pregnancy. In addition to these benefits, exercise will allow for better blood circulation, which in turn help to stabilize blood pressure, as well as reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling of the feet and legs. One of the largest benefits will be the body’s preparation for labor. The act of labor is exactly that, labor (work), a woman will never work harder in her entire life. When a woman is physically fit and has adequate muscle tone & strength, the labor and birth process will be smoother and her fit condition will aid her in recovering from birth sooner than if she was not physically fit.

Pregnant women can perform many of the same exercises that one would do when not pregnant. There are times, however, when some exercises may be off limits. For example, a woman in her 2nd trimester should not lie flat on her back for longer than a few minutes as the weight of the growing fetus will compress major blood vessels which will reduce blood circulation thus resulting in numbness of limbs and reduced blood flow to the baby. A woman should discuss exercise with her physician who will advise her if there are any types of exercise she should not engage in. When done properly, a woman will benefit from the following exercises: Aerobics, weights (no more than 20 pounds), water workouts, yoga and kegel exercises.

There are some “Special Considerations” that must be mentioned when referring to exercise during pregnancy. It is wise for a woman to first discuss her pregnancy and desire to exercise with her physician. Doing this will ensure the safety of the pregnancy for the mother as well as the growing baby. A pregnant woman must understand 2 single points: “Everything a mother eats, drinks, or takes internally will cross the placenta and go to the baby”, and “The nutrients that a growing baby requires, will be taken from the mother”. Because the growing baby will take the nutrients it needs from the mother, it is crucially important that the mother supplement with a good, high quality vitamin/mineral supplement. Not only does a growing baby take nutrients from the mother, a person will lose nutrients from their body as they sweat when exercising. Supplementation is critical when exercising, pregnant or not. Supplementing will help to ensure that the mother will not end up with deficiency diseases after the birth of the baby. Consider the following example: The growing baby takes a great deal of calcium from the mother for the formation of its bones. If the mother is not supplementing with the required amount of calcium needed during pregnancy (2000mg) she will most likely experience kidney stones, lost teeth as well as a host of other problems within the first year following the birth of the baby.

It has been shown that exercise during pregnancy can be very beneficial, however, there are considerations to think about in order to ensure the safety of the pregnancy for both the mother and growing baby. Pregnancy is an exciting time.

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