Posted by William on December 2, 2011
Long gone are the days when becoming pregnant dictated that a woman prop up her feet for nine months and wait with ever-growing dismay as the pounds pile up, her ankles swell and her self-esteem plummets to an all-time low.
Thankfully, women are enjoying much more active pregnancies today, with current research debunking the myth that exercise was potentially dangerous for a pregnant woman and her unborn child. The fact is, when pregnant — just as at any other time in her life — exercising is one of the best things a woman can do for herself.
Among the many benefits, Schoenfeld points to an increase in energy levels, a reduction in fatigue, a better sense of well-being and improved self-esteem.
Bonnie Berk, founder of Motherwell, a maternity fitness program housed in fitness centers, hospitals and military bases across the country and abroad, has dedicated the past 20 years to teaching pregnant women how to stay fit during and after pregnancy.
“Exercise has been shown to alleviate or prevent nearly all of the negative pregnancy symptoms. It helps preserve muscle tone, strengthens the muscles that support the back, improves circulation and decreases ankle swelling, depression and fatigue,” she says.
Exercise typically enhances body image and reduces stress, so pregnant women who’re working on their fitness level often just plain feel better about themselves. Furthermore, the benefits of exercising during pregnancy don’t end once the child has been born. Studies show that women who exercise while pregnant snap back to their pre-pregnancy shape more quickly than those who don’t.
Choosing a comfortable exercise program is up to the individual. Berk highly recommends swimming as an especially beneficial prenatal fitness routine. Due to water’s inherent buoyancy, water fitness classes offer less stress on the joints. Yoga, moderate weight training and cardiovascular exercises such as stationary biking and walking also rank high on the list.
There are, of course, some guidelines a pregnant woman should know about before beginning an exercise routine. Like all good things, moderation is the key to a healthy maternity fitness routine.
“Exercising is like food,” Berk says. “You need both to stay healthy, but too much is not good.”
It is also essential that a woman get her physician’s permission to exercise. Conditions such as bleeding, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension and other afflictions can be potentially injurious. High-intensity aerobic classes — since they include bouncing movements and jumping motions that may cause injury — are generally not recommended.
For the most part, though, common sense dictates the restrictions on prenatal exercise. “I tell women to watch their own bodies for indications that they’re doing too much,” Berk says. “If you’re feeling out of breath or you’re sweating profusely, then you’re doing too much. You should be able to talk while you’re exercising.”
In case you are interested in getting pregnant, find out ways to increase your odds of having a child by discovering info about menstrual cycles, when to have intercourse and also signs of pregnancy.