Staying active during pregnancy


Being a full time working mother, it's hard to get exercise in, especially with the exhaustion of pregnancy. I've written in this previous post about my 55 pound weight gain during my last pregnancy, and this time in my second pregnancy I am determined to avoid such a drastic weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight gain during pregnancy has the benefits of reducing the risk of stretch marks, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and more importantly, gestational diabetes, hypertension, and a complicated delivery.  In addition, exercise can help you "train" for your delivery (my last labor was 22 hours long), and will also help reduce stress. During my last pregnancy, the only exercise I did was walking, and even that was restricted in my third trimester. So far I have had no complications with my current pregnancy that would keep me from exercising, so I am trying to incorporate a variety of activity into my busy schedule, which often means fitting exercise in whenever and wherever I can. After my first pregnancy I started using the Jillian Michaels workouts, and loved them, and have continued during this pregnancy with modifications. In the morning before my son wakes up I do her beginner shred, which is a 20 minute workout including cardio, strength, and abs. Since I became pregnant I use only 3 lb weights, and I don't do any of the exercises flat on my back. I also found the DVD series the pregnancy project to be a fantastic prenatal workout. There is a separate workout for each month of pregnancy. At first after doing the Jillian Michaels workouts, these seemed too easy for me, but they are surprisingly challenging. The workouts are longer than Jillianps, approximately 45 minutes, and focus more on strength and stretching, rather than cardio. Tracy Anderson, the instructor who is pregnant during these workouts, has you doing series after series of variations of donkey kicks. My gluts are burning after these workouts. Unfortunately I do not always have time in the mornings for a 45 minute workout, so I can only do these once about once a week.

I track my steps using a fitbit, and aim for at least 10,000 steps in a day, I do a mile or two walk with my son in the stroller. Whenever I have a free moment usually before work after I have dropped my son off at preschool or on the weekends I will go to a local park and hike the stairs with my dogs. When I don't have a full patient load at work, and when the temperature is not in the triple digits, I will take a walk on my lunch break at work.

I've also have incorporated some yoga into my exercise routine. I tried a drop in prenatal class at a local yoga studio, and loved it. It's also fun to be around of other pregnant women, so I don't feel as silly doing the poses with a belly. Yoga is not only relaxing, but helps maintain your flexibility during pregnancy. Unfortunately with my busy schedule it's not always easy to make time to go to a yoga studio.

I keep myself cool by putting a fan on when I'm exercising at home, and walking early in the day to avoid overheating, and drinking as much water as I possibly can. Of course check with your OB/GYN before starting any new exercise program if you are pregnant. If you were not active before pregnancy, it's best to take exercise very slow and light. Naturally, don't do any potentially dangerous activity, such as alpine skying or horse back-riding, although I don't know what pregnant woman would have the energy to do these activities in the first place. What ways do you stay active during pregnancy?
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