Physical fitness is important for expectant moms |

Physical fitness is important for expectant moms

Jerry Vance
For the Appeal

Pregnant? Is this your first baby, or one of many? The pregnant fitness student receives a lot of advice about exercising during pregnancy. They might even hear that any form of exercise is harmful.

Pregnancy is like preparing for an athletic event.

You will need extra training, both in endurance and breathing, which are essential for an easy delivery. Whatever exercise you have been doing for fitness before becoming pregnant may be all right during your first trimester. You need to check with your doctor and lower intensity levels gradually. One of my medical books states that if the mother has been running a six-minute mile before pregnancy, she may continue to do so if she gradually slows the time as she increases in weight.

Exercise during pregnancy will help your leg circulation, especially during the last trimester, and it will help support the lower back muscles. The hormones that you produce during pregnancy will increase your flexibility and allow you to stretch farther. So perform your stretch movements slowly and hold them.

There are several factors that can change your ability to continue a fitness program during pregnancy. Excessive heat is one of them. If your temperatures exceeds 101 degrees when you finish exercise, take steps to slow and cool your body, drink more water and don’t spend a lot of time in sports that lower your oxygen supply. I limit my pregnant students to a 140 pulse count per minute, or lower, so that they take in adequate oxygen. Stay away from sports that have movements that can cause abdominal trauma, such as any striking or falling on the abdominal area. Don’t take up sky diving, deep sea diving, hang gliding, boxing, fencing, football, hockey or diving when you find out you are pregnant.

Pregnancy and delivery are hard work. They require a body that can support not only itself but the new individual who is building and growing. Physical fitness remains a needed item for the pregnant woman. If your pregnancy is a normal one, and if your doctor agrees, you may be able to continue your fitness program, with modifications, right up to the time of delivery.

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• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center