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Aerobic Exercise

pregnant-pushups-300wIs Aerobic Exercise Safe?

Gone are the days when doctors worried that aerobic exercise might place the developing fetus or mother-to-be at risk. Today it is widely acknowledged that moderate-intensity aerobic activity has very low risks for healthy pregnant women. Instead, there are many profound health benefits of cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy for you and your growing baby. Women who are physically fit tend to have easier, healthier pregnancies, and give birth to healthy babies.

 

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy

  • When fit you are more likely to give birth to a leaner baby.
  • Lean babies are less likely to become overweight or develop diabetes as adults.
  • If you breastfeed, improved immune function will carry over to your baby the first several months of life.
  • Larger placenta, which in turn provides an increased nutrient base for the baby.
  • Helps prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy, which reduces risk of gestational diabetes.
  • A fit mom bounces back into shape after delivery much more quickly than a sedentary one.
  • Provides needed stamina for labor and delivery.
  • Women who exercise aerobically are much less likely to experience lower back pain, constipation and bloating.
  • Increases energy and improves mood.

How Much Aerobic Exercise Is Safe?

First always consult with your midwife or other health care provider, but we recommend a minimum activity level of 30 minutes every day if possible. If you work or other responsibilities make it difficult to exercise for 30 minutes continually, try instead finding two 15 minutes blocks of time just for you and baby. Fortunately, you can enjoy the same health benefits if you break your daily workout into shorter sessions during the day. Also, be sure to read the Keys Of Safe Pregnancy Exercise.

Third Trimester Limits On Aerobic Exercise

What was once an easy workout through the second trimester of pregnancy, may prove to be too challenging by the third trimester. To avoid overtaxing your body, slowly start reducing the intensity of your workouts as your delivery day nears. If you have been doing an impact exercise such as jogging, it is now time to switch it up and try fitness walking or an elliptical machine. Continue to monitor your level of perceived exertion during cardiovascular exercise and stay within a comfortable range, it's like switching to an aerobic maintenance program.

When Not To Increase or Start Aerobic Activity

The size and functional capacity of the placenta—the ability to exchange oxygen and CO2, and nutrients and waste products—is set midway through pregnancy because the placenta stops growing at 20 weeks. Therefore, you should not try to increase your aerobic capacity, or start an aerobic program, in the last half of pregnancy. If you were previously sedentary or relatively less fit, a fitness walking program will provide many of the same health benefits (though to a lesser degree) and can be done safely throughout your pregnancy.

Best Aerobic Activities During Pregnancy