Are you pregnant? Has your doctor told you to get moving in some way, to do some sort of exercise? (By the way, ALWAYS check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.)
Exercise can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Here is some food for thought if you are struggling with starting an exercise program during your pregnancy.
==> The Good.
You need to exercise during pregnancy. You need to gently stretch and stay as flexible as possible. This can make a huge difference in the quality of your delivery and recovery.
I know. I’ve had four full time pregnancies and I’ve experienced firsthand the difference staying flexible can make. Exercise also keeps your body working at a higher efficiency rate which will help you sleep better and improve your digestion, two things not to be taken lightly during pregnancy.
The difference exercise during pregnancy can make for your post-partum recovery is amazing. Again, I can tell you from firsthand experience, that a comfortable and reasonable fitness routine (simple walking is terrific) can help your body ‘snap back’ like nothing else.
Physical exercise has been shown to improve moods. Girlfriend, we know how to have moods when we’re pregnant, don’t we? Enough said.
And don’t forget this vital point. A healthier mom means a healthier baby. How can you argue with that?
==> The Bad.
Exercise performed during pregnancy is different than exercise at other times. You’ve got to be extra-sensitive to your body needs. You’ve got to go slower and be willing to stop sooner. You must be willing to be flexible in your choice of exercise, too. If you like to run, you probably won’t be able to keep that up your entire pregnancy. Of course, that choice will be between you and your doctor.
Still, all those points have a silver lining. A great exercise for pregnancy is swimming. And hey, no one cares what you look like in a bathing suit! In fact, being pregnant is a wonderful time to celebrate the beauty of your body. Take advantage, buy a cute suit, and head for the water.
An additional safety point to consider when you exercise is not to overheat. I’ve experienced this, as well, and it is not fun. I was only fourteen weeks pregnant, but the weather was hot and humid. I was playing horseshoes (hardly an aerobic sport), but after a short time I was feeling terrible. The people around me were commenting on how flushed I looked. When I went inside it took a very long time for me to cool down, much longer than normal.
So be careful. Exercise during pregnancy is meant to benefit you and your baby, but that means it needs to be moderate and regulated. Save the Olympics for later.
==> The Ugly.
You’re pregnant. You feel sick. You’re tired. Exercise?? Are you crazy?
It’s true. Even the most die-hard fitness gal often finds motivation for exercise during her pregnancy much more difficult. So if you are not a regular exerciser, you’re wondering how you can possibly pull this off. Even if you know it’s very important to your health and your baby’s well-being, it can be hard to simply get started.
The number one recommendation I can give you is to not to do this on your own. It’s just too big of a leap during this season in your life. The great news is you have some excellent options that can make your exercise time downright fun.
Look for an exercise system or group specifically designed for pregnant women. (For a detailed review of such a system, see the author’s resource box following this article.) Look for one that gives abundant support. This is crucial! You need to be in regular contact with other exercising pregnant women. This will give you the motivation you need to keep up your exercise program even when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s face it. You’ll need someplace to vent and share openly about your pregnancy experiences. An exercise group of other moms-to-be could be a very, very helpful thing to you. I highly recommend it.
So do something wonderful for yourself and your baby today and get moving!