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As a mom-to-be, you have some experience carrying around extra weight. Your expanding baby bump is proof of that. But you’ll soon be faced with the daily task of toting your growing newborn—and all her gear. To help prepare your body for the constant lifting and holding to come, now is the time to strengthen the muscles you’ll use most as a new mom.
Prenatal exercise doesn’t have to be grueling, complicated or boring. We rounded up our favorite workouts to help you stay active and get ready for baby. Plus, find out which foods pack the most essential nutrients (including recipes!) and which ones to avoid.
Time: 7:15 p.m. Place: The kitchen. Action: The sounds of glass shattering and a pregnant woman crying. Last week, the mug Sue made me slipped out of my fingers when I was unloading the dishwasher and fractured into three jagged pieces. This time it’s the hand-blown glass bowl Auntie Sharon gave us at our wedding. What am I going to break next?
Walking was the only exercise Corina DuBois of Monterey, Calif., did before getting pregnant. "I've always been intimidated by sports and by the machines at gyms, so I shied away from working out during my first pregnancy," says DuBois, 30, mother of Holden, 2, and Nolan, 6 months. But three months after her first delivery, she discovered Stroller Strides, a mommy-and-child stroller-based walking and toning program. "With Stroller Strides, I found I could be fit without having to be coordinated or competitive," she says.
The following is a summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for exercising while pregnant:
1. In the absence of contraindications (see below), pregnant women are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week. (See “Don’t Exercise If ...” below.) As always, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
What's the best way to make sure you get your nice, safe prenatal workout in, as you know you should? Get rid of the obstacles! When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it's easy to head outdoors for exercise. But when the elements, schedules and tummy aren't as cooperative, all sorts of excuses can get in your way, especially if you've never been a gym person. We've got the answer: a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home.
You probably already know that staying active during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for your health—and your baby’s. You also may know studies have found that pregnant women who exercise have smoother deliveries than those who aren’t active and that they also feel better about themselves after delivery.
What’s the best way to make sure you get your nice, safe prenatal workout in, as you know you should? Get rid of the obstacles! When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it’s easy to head outdoors for exercise. But when the elements, schedules and tummy aren’t as cooperative, all sorts of excuses can get in your way, especially if you’ve never been a gym person. We’ve got the answer: a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home.
The payoffs for having strong abdominal and pelvic-floor muscles are plentiful. “These muscles are a pregnant woman’s best friend,” says Julie Tupler, R.N., author of Lose Your Mummy Tummy (Perseus, 2005) and creator of the Tupler Technique, which is illustrated in her Maternal Fitness DVD/video series (Moon Mountain Entertainment, 2001; www.maternalfitness.
If you’ve always exercised, you may be wondering which routines you can safely continue now that you’re pregnant and how hard you can work out. And if you haven’t been active, now’s the time to start moving: Research shows that exercising during pregnancy is good for you and your growing baby and can help you get your body back more quickly after you deliver. Here you’ll find the six safest, most comfortable and effective workouts for pregnancy and information on how to get started on each of them.
It’s one of life’s little ironies: The more active you are, the more relaxed you feel. Pregnancy is no exception. While you may want to lounge on the couch when you’re not working, running errands or socializing, you’ll probably feel more energetic if you exercise. It’s also been well proven that working out can help keep your body strong and lessen your risk for complications during delivery—and may even help you have an easier birth.
Exercise is not only safe during most pregnancies, but it also may ease many pregnancy discomforts and possibly shorten your labor and delivery and recovery time.