Friday 26 December 2014

Mother-to-be of all exercise routines

Pat Henry

Published 21/08/2013 | 11:36

STAYING IN SHAPE: Pregnant American TV actress Holly Madison

MATERNAL obesity is the single biggest predictor for childhood obesity, so it is up to you to get and keep fit for the sake of yourself and your baby.

Normal weight gain for pregnancy is on average 35lb, so keep an eye on how much weight you are putting on. The fact that you are pregnant is no excuse to be sedentary. I have had several clients who took up exercise while pregnant and they did amazingly well, toning up and getting fit.

A medical report stated that women who exercised during pregnancy had their babies an average of five days earlier than non-exercisers and had less need for medical intervention. The American Journal of Sports Medicine states: "The active phase of their labours is about two hours shorter... foetal stress is decreased, and the incidence of operative delivery (forceps or Caesarean section) is reduced from 48pc to 14pc."

Not only is it healthier for your baby, it is healthier for you, too. By doing just 30 minutes of exercise per day, you can have an easier and healthier pregnancy. The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are not just physical. Due to the endorphins produced in your brain when you exercise, you're also less likely to have mood swings, pregnancy-specific stress and depression.

It is essential to be selective about the type of exercise you do when pregnant. Obviously, bouncing or jumping movements are out, as are running and aerobics. Any movements that place excess stress on your lower back or pelvic area are also a no-no. In my opinion, the best exercises that you can do are:

Swimming: Swimming is fantastic as it alleviates the stress on the lower back and takes the pressure off your joints, too. See if your local pool has any specific pregnancy classes.

Yoga: The gentle movements of yoga are great for pregnant mothers and it's a fantastic way to relax, too.

Exercises: Side leg raises and dumbbell work are great for toning the body and once done correctly and gently, will increase your muscle tone

Walking: In the early stages of pregnancy, walking is a great way of keeping fit

When you do start training, don't overdo it. Keep your heart rate down to around 140 beats per minute. The easiest way to do this is to take the talk test. Always ensure that you are able to talk while you exercise. There will be less oxygen in your system available for exercise, so be careful not to push yourself too hard. Always breathe out when you are pushing against a force or weight and breathe in on the easy part of the exercise.

Pregnancy means that your body needs an extra 300 calories per day, so it is essential that you are eating plenty of healthy food. If you care about your unborn baby, you will cut out alcohol and cigarettes while you are pregnant.

The toxins that these contain can affect your unborn's health, while pregnant and in the future too. I cannot understand why women continue to pollute their systems during pregnancy. It is your child's health that matters, so do yourself and your child a favour and eat plenty of healthy food, do some exercise and get lots of good fresh air.

Evening Herald

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