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Exercise During Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 04:26pm
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Exercise is an important part of a healthy way of life and pregnancy shouldn't change that! Many expectant moms who exercised before becoming pregnant want to continue their workout routines. Then again, some expectant moms who were not very active before pregnancy want to improve their fitness level now. This is often due to a desire to be healthy for baby.

Moms need to know when it's safe to exercise. As well, they need to know that some activities can be harmful.

Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine!

If you get the green light from your doctor, go for it! You can make aerobic exercise (with caution), strength training and other exercises part of your regular workout routine. By keeping fit, you can experience a number of health benefits, including:

  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Help in recovery from labour
  • Less medical intervention
  • Fewer pregnancy discomforts
  • Help in preventing pregnancy-induced hypertension

Below are some guidelines to help you learn the types of exercises that are safe for expectant mothers. You will also learn which exercises you should avoid during pregnancy.

If you were active before becoming pregnant, you can probably continue with the same or a modified level of activity. But you should clear your exercise plans with your healthcare provider or doctor as early in your pregnancy as possible. The purpose of this is to rule out any conditions that would make hard exercise risky.

You shouldn't exercise during this pregnancy if any of these conditions apply to you. Discuss with your doctor how these conditions can affect your pregnancy.

  • Heart problems
  • A serious lung condition and breathing problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Some vaginal bleeding during this pregnancy
  • Low blood iron or anemia
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • Problems controlling (or your doctor is concerned about) blood sugar
  • A baby that is too small for its age in uterus
  • High risk of preterm labour

Acknowledgements
Adapted From Schuurmans, N. LaLonde, A., Health Beginnings pp 31-, © 2000, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada SOGC.

With consent from your doctor, you can walk, swim, lift light weights or join a fitness class. You should look for classes that are designed for pregnant women and new moms. If you're in a regular aerobics class, you should speak to your instructor about not doing high-impact routines or ones that put stress on your lower back.

If you were inactive before pregnancy, try activities such as swimming, aquafit or stationary cycling. The safest time for you to become more active is in the middle three months of your pregnancy, during your second trimester. Whatever your exercise choice may be, it's important for you to maintain muscle mass and stay active.

AEROBICS
Aerobics are exercises that are brisk enough to make your heart beat more quickly than when you are resting. It involves cardiovascular exercises using the large muscle groups. During pregnancy this can include walking, swimming, indoor stationary cycling and low-impact aerobics.

STRENGTH TRAINING
A strength training exercise program involves building and keeping muscle mass by lifting weights. For pregnant women, stomach (abdominal) exercises should be changed to use only the side-lying, semi-reclining or standing positions. However, to prepare for labour and birth, the most important muscles for expectant moms to tone are the pelvic muscles.

Exercising is good for you and good for your baby. But how can you tell if you are overdoing it when exercising? One thing you can do is try the talk test. You should always be able to carry on a conversation during your workout. If not, you are working too hard. The talk test is also a good indicator of your heart rate. You should keep your heart rate at the low end of the target exercise heart rate for your age.

Take a moment to look at the table below.

Suggested Heart Rates for Aerobic Exercise during Pregnancy

Age            Target (beats/minute)    Beats/10 seconds
Under 20          140-155                        23-26
20 to 29           135-150                        22-25
30 to 39           130-145                        21-24
Over 40            125-140                        20-23


For more information: The Exercise & Pregnancy Helpline 1-866-937-7678

Acknowledgements

Adapted From Schuurmans, N. Lalonde, A., Healthy Beginnings. 2nd ed. pp -32, © 2000, Society of Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).

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Muscle Cramps

by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 03:20pm
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About half of all pregnant women experience leg cramps. There are a few different causes—pressure on the abdominal nerves and blood vessels from weight of uterus, being tired, a calcium or phosphorus imbalance, poor circulation or from pointing your toes. You might also feel muscle cramps in the buttocks or thighs.

These suggestions might help lessen muscle cramps:

  • Try to avoid getting overtired. Rest when you can.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes.
  • Elevate your feet and legs frequently during the day.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Do some calf stretches before you go to bed. Sit with your legs straight. Don't bend your knees. Push your heels away from your body and, at the same time, flex your toes towards your head.
  • Contact your doctor if leg pain continues or you develop any redness, swelling or numbness in the legs.

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Workplace Management and Social Environment Hazards

by Guest
Posted August 10 2010 02:40pm
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Some precautions a pregnant woman might take include:

  • Work with your supervisor and co-workers to reduce your workload during pregnancy.
  • Do not try to overcompensate for upcoming pregnancy/maternity leave by doing extra work in advance in order to lighten the impact of your leaving. The stress of doing this is not good for you or your baby.
  • Decline most requests for evening and weekend work. Pregnancy is demanding on your mind and body, and you need your rest and relaxation. 
  • If there are office policies or procedures that are having a negative impact on you, speak to your supervisor. Try to change them or receive an exemption during your pregnancy.

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How do I know what's normal?

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 04:43pm
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As you prepare to become a parent during pregnancy, remember it's normal to:

  • Experience Highs and Lows
  • Pregnancy can be an emotional high as well as an emotional low, and this is perfectly normal. You may be happy about the life growing inside, but you can also be overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility and concerned about the impact this new life will have on your existing life.
  • Pregnancy is a time of emotional and physical change so it's natural to feel overwhelmed with different kinds of emotions. If you are experiencing difficulty coping with your changing emotions or If you are experiencing more than two of the following symptoms or they are getting worse let your doctor or midwife know:
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping even when you have the opportunity to sleep.
  • Persistent worrying about the pregnancy or the developing baby
  • Feeling very sad for no apparent reason
  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Experiencing feelings of helplessness , hopelessness, guilt, failure or low self-esteem
  • Feeling isolated
  • Feelings of irritability and or not wanting the baby
  • Feeling anxious or on edge. or panicky
  • Mood swings all the time.
  • Obsessive thoughts, ideas or feelings or odd or frightening thoughts or ideas.
  • A feeling that you can't see things getting any better
  • Have Lots of Worries
  • It is normal to wonder whether you will be a good parent or whether your baby will be normal. Community resources are available to support new parents and help them develop their skills and confidence in parenting. All parents need help - don't be afraid to ask.
  • Discuss any worries you may have with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. This may be your doctor, nurse, midwife, partner, a friend or a member of your family.
  • Require Extra Emotional and Physical Support
  • During pregnancy it is natural to feel the need for extra support, both emotionally and physically.
  • It is normal to feel irritable and moody at times, while feeling thrilled at others.
  • To Help Yourself:
  • Eat well

    A healthy lifestyle that involves eating well (according to the recommended nutritional requirements for pregnant women), staying active, and obtaining regular medical care throughout pregnancy, will contribute to you and your baby's short and long term health.

  • Relax

    Make time for yourself on a daily basis. It is important that you give yourself time to rest, relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

  • Exercise

    Daily physical activity, such as walking, will help you reduce any stress you may be feeling and can help with your mood as well (make sure your doctor or midwife has approved all physical exercise).

  • Plan ahead

    Plan ahead as much as possible. This applies to your workplace and home. At work, organize things so you can leave your job with everything in order. At home, you may want to get your baby's things ready, or prepare an older sibling for the new arrival.

 

 

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