Safe Exercise For Pregnancy | Fit Pregnancy

Safe Exercise For Pregnancy

Gentle Exercise Best in First Trimester?

Moderate exercise is one of the best things a mom-to-be can do for herself. It's well known that regular leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. But there may be one caveat. According to research on Danish women, strenuous exercise—especially intense, "jolting"-type activity—early in pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage.

The Power of the Belly

Can't get into a fitness groove now that you're pregnant? Then it's time to belly up, say sisters Neena & Veena, creators of several Bellytwins DVDs, including "Bellydance Core Conditioning" and the forthcoming "Belly Baby Prenatal Workout."

"In ancient history, belly dancing was always known as a preparation for childbirth," says Neena, who recently delivered her first child via water birth. The moves require squeezing and releasing the pelvic muscles to create the ripple effect as well as doing figure 8s with the hips.

Work out with Gabby

Pregnancies don't get more fit than this! In the February/March issue of FitPregnancy, professional volleyball player and mother Gabrielle Reece shares her tips on how she stayed fit through both of her pregnancies. Read our extended interview with Gabby to find out more about her exercise routine, why she thinks exercising during pregnancy is so important, and how motherhood has changed her.

Loosen Up

Pregnancy can be a miraculous experience, but along with the joy come aches and pains. As your belly and breasts grow, you may start to feel stiff and sore, especially in your back and neck. "Gentle and supportive stretches relieve discomfort, boost circulation and increase your energy level," says Jennifer Gianni, certified Pilates instructor and creator of the DVD series Fusion Pilates for Pregnancy (fusionpilates.com).

Ski School

Ski-School

It's best to discuss this with your doctor. Here's why: In the first trimester, the fetus is well protected within the uterus, which in turn is safely tucked behind the pelvic bones. As such, if you were to suffer a hard fall or a blow to the abdomen from an errant ski, your baby would very likely be protected. However, after 13 weeks, the uterus begins to expand beyond the pelvis; this could put your baby at risk if you were to take a fall or get hit in the belly.

Journey to Motherhood

Every breath you take is a path to a happier, healthier and more profound experience of pregnancy and childbirth. That's the message Los Angeles' celebrated certified Kundalini yoga teacher, Anna Getty, imparts in her new prenatal DVD series, Divine Mother (annagetty.com).

Walk On

What's the one workout that suits pregnant women of all stripes? "Walking," chorused the group I interviewed for my book, Walking Through Pregnancy and Beyond (The Lyons Press, 2004). For everyone--from the Texas triathlete and coach who needed to scale back, to a Colorado woman who simply pledged to walk the short distance to work--walking was both as gentle and as challenging as they needed it to be.

Strong & Serene

Prenatal Pilates is an ideal workout for moms-to-be. For one thing, the moves strengthen the entire body, especially the muscles used during labor: the abdominals, lower back and pelvic floor. Practicing Pilates regularly also can relieve lower-back discomfort and other pregnancy-induced aches and pains, as well as help you feel supple and relaxed.

Yoga: For Pregnancy & Beyond

Consider yoga a way to stay physically healthy and emotionally grounded. It addresses challenges inherent to pregnancy and childbirth while nourishing the spirit to set the stage for confident parenting. Pregnant fitness buffs will find that yoga’s asanas (postures) rival any other workout in keeping the body toned and flexible. Women with more difficult pregnancies find physical and emotional comfort in yoga’s gentle, restorative poses and breathing techniques.

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