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

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 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.

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


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

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by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 03:18pm
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Light-headedness can happen when there are changes in the circulatory system. Those pregnancy hormones make the body a little slower at adjusting to changes in position. During the later part of pregnancy, the pressure of an enlarged uterus slows circulation in the legs.

To help prevent light-headedness:

  • Take things slow. Avoid sudden changes in position.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Practice deep breathing. It helps to increase the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. Parents can do this together. It's very relaxing.
  • Avoid hot environments and keep the space you're in cooler.
  • Try not to skip meals.
  • Move your legs frequently throughout the day, especially when you are sitting.

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Ergonomic Hazards

by Guest
Posted August 10 2010 02:39pm
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Here are some precautions you can take to protect yourself from ergonomic hazards you may be exposed to at work. 

  • Talk with your doctor or midwife about the ergonomic hazards that you think your job may involve.
  • Think about modifying your work or ask for a temporary job transfer, if possible.
  • Strenuous work should be limited.


The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends limiting the following aspects of work:

  • Standing: Prolonged (>4 hours) after 24 weeks gestation and intermittent (>30 min/hour) after 32 weeks gestation.
  • Stooping or Bending: Repetitive (>10 times/hour) after 20 weeks gestation or intermittent (> 2 time/hour) after 28 weeks.
  • Climbing of Ladders or Poles: Repetitive (>3 times/shift) after 20 weeks gestation or intermittent (>3 times/shift) after 28 weeks gestation.  
  • Stair Climbing: Repetitive (>3 times/shift) after 20 weeks gestation.  
  • Lifting: Repetitive (>23 kg or 50 lbs) after 20 weeks gestation, repetitive (>11 kg or 24 lbs) after 24 weeks gestation or during the last trimester of pregnancy. At this stage, avoid even intermittent lifting, especially if it involves stooping, bending or tightening the groin muscles.

Here are some other exposures you should be aware of at work. 

Acknowledgement: Pregnancy and the Workplace: Health Risks and Issues by Niagara Regional Public Health  Workplace Management and Social Environment Hazards. 



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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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