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Adjust workouts but keep moving in pregnancy

May 9, 2013
 
Dr. Sarah Goetz
Dr. Sarah Goetz

Tips for safe exercise while pregnant

1. Check with your health care provider first.
2. Take in extra calories.
3. Steer clear of dangerous sports.
4. Wear the right clothes.
5. Warm up.
6. Drink plenty of water.
7. Don’t lie flat on your back.
8. Keep moving.
9. Don’t overdo it.
10. Don’t get overheated.
11. Get up from the floor slowly.
12. Cool down.
13. Make it a habit.
Source: www.babycenter.com

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Decades ago, pregnant women were advised against exercise with the worry that it would cause preterm labor.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists today supports safe exercise in pregnancy.

Dr. Sarah Goetz, a new mother with a 9-month-old, sees patients at the Marshfield Clinic-Marshfield Center, and she said she does have expectant mothers ask her whether they need to cut back on exercise.

“It’s healthy for women to stay active. It can decrease the risk of postpartum depression, gestational diabetes risk, swelling and back aches,” Goetz said. Activity during pregnancy also helps a woman get back to her pre-baby weight and makes it easier to continue fitness after delivery and beyond, Goetz said.

She encourages women to stick to 30 minutes of moderate, regular exercise but said they should start slowly.

“Things like walking, swimming would be good options,” she said.

Although elite runners and endurance athletes might expect to keep their exercise routines up while pregnant, they do need to “listen to their body,” Goetz said.

Goetz said before her own pregnancy, she had been a runner. While pregnant, she still jogged but experienced low-energy bouts during the first trimester. She said she enjoyed swimming and yoga as alternatives.

Women might notice they have a harder time with balance as they progress to the third trimester.

The extra weight in front shifts your center of gravity, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, and can place stress on the muscles of the lower back and pelvis. Also, the hormones produced in pregnancy relax ligaments that support the joints.

Women are advised to limit exercises that involve being flat on their backs or standing too long because of the pressure it can exert on the veins in the lower body, causing lightheadedness.

Goetz said warning signs that indicate the need to stop exercising include vaginal bleeding, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath, or contractions.

— 13 for 13 staff

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