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					Pregnancy, Exercise and Prenatals - What You Should Know
Pregnancy is a nine-month marathon, and smart moms-to-be begin training
well in advance. You know that you should take care of yourself during
pregnancy but should you exercise? What kind of exercise should you be
doing, how often and for what length of time? What about prenatal
vitamins? Pregnancy is a wondrous time, but it can also leave you with
many questions.
Exercise helps your body best handle labor, delivery and recovery.
Exercise also prepares your body for the rigors of childbirth, and it
allows you to bounce back into shape quicker after the birth. Exercise
also helps keep your mood up and staying active can improve your overall
Doing the incorrect type of exercise during your pregnancy can be
detrimental to both you and your baby. You should consult with a
healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or
supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or
suspect you might have a health problem.
Do not exercise if any of the following are present:
Pregnancy induced hypertension
Ruptured membranes
Incompetent cervix
Vaginal bleeding
Intrauterine growth retardation
A multiple pregnancy
There are a number of other medical and obstetric conditions that may
lead to the need to modify or stop an exercise program. Some women simply
should not exercise during pregnancy for health reasons.
Avoid eating for two hours prior to an exercise session. If you exercise
first thing in the morning, have a liquid snack while exercising then
follow this with breakfast after the exercise session has ended. No
matter when you exercise, try to have a small snack immediately after an
exercise session. Drink lots of fluids making sure to stay hydrated.
Drinking eight ounces (226 g) of water before exercising, and an
additional eight ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise will help with
hydration. It is important that you up your caloric intake, by about 300-
500 calories per day, to compensate for a growing baby and calories
burned during exercise.
It is important to exercise sensibly at a comfortable intensity and do
not exercise to exhaustion or at an anaerobic (or breathless) pace. All
exercise should be accompanied by an appropriate warm up and cool down
session. Wear light comfortable clothing, drink plenty of water, avoid
exercising in very hot temperatures or humid conditions and do not
exercise during illness or fever.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
women should exercise no more than 30 minutes at a time, one to three
times per week, although some doctors suggest some form of exercise most
days of the week. Generally, the best exercise is low impact and includes
activities such as walking, swimming, stationary bicycling, prenatal
yoga, aerobics and weight training. Exercises like yoga or even swimming
can be both relaxing and meditative, which are important to counteract
the exhaustive physical and mental rigors of pregnancy. Remember to keep
the exercise low intensity - exercise should be geared towards
maintaining your fitness level instead of increasing it.
After exercise, make sure to cool down by slowly returning to your
resting rate by doing cool down exercises and stretches. Pay attention to
how you are feeling and remember that you may not be able to exercise at
your pre-pregnancy level. Women who are prone to being overweight may
choose to plan a healthy diet and exercise plan to help moderate the
amount of weight gained.
Prenatal vitamins supply a rich assortment of vitamins and minerals to
help a woman conceive and bring forth a healthy baby. These vitamins are
an important part of pregnancy nutrition and are intended to be taken
before and during pregnancy and during postnatal lactation. Prenatals can
be taken by a woman on a daily basis to ensure that she is obtaining
appropriate quantities of essential nutrients during pregnancy. They are
most important during the first 10 weeks of your pregnancy, which
unfortunately is when nausea is often at its worst.
Prenatal vitamins are packed full of nutrients that will help support and
nourish both your growing child and your own body during pregnancy.
However, they are only as good as the diet they are being added to.
Prenatal vitamins are meant to supplement an already good diet, not make
up for a poor diet. They are almost universally given to pregnant women
today and often contain high amounts of folic acid and other compounds,
such as iron and vitamin A.
Taking prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk of low birth-weight babies
and supplementation of folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of
several congenital malformations.
Prenatal vitamins are extremely important before and during pregnancy,
and many women continue to take prenatal vitamins throughout their
childbearing years.
The choice you make regarding the outcome of your pregnancy is a personal
decision. As many moms will tell you, pregnancy is a marathon and being
physically fit will help you cope with the physical challenges of both
pregnancy and childbirth. For free books, reports and info go here
Preganacy and Prenatals.