guest post: Effective Exercise Basics for Pregnancy and Beyond

September 20, 2012

Hey all!
I have a guest blogger today!

 Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26

Effective Exercise Basics for Pregnancy and Beyond

What can reduce delivery complications, help with pregnancy fatigue, and make it easier to lose weight after pregnancy? Getting into shape is often a goal before pregnancy, but it gets put on the back shelf once the delivery countdown begins. Exercise is a very important part of successful pregnancies, however, because it optimizes nutrition, balances hormone production, and prepares you mentally and physically for labor.

Pregnancy offered me many opportunities to learn more about my body. Books and educational programs helped somewhat, but there is no substitute for pregnancy classes. Newly expecting moms should begin signing up for these pre-natal classes as soon as possible. Lamaze and Bradley Method classes are highly rated, and the birthing class hosted by the clinic or hospital is a must. You‘ll find more ideas from health providers and support personnel, such as a midwife or doula, about things you may never have considered before—like pain management techniques during delivery and cord blood banking post delivery. Exercise may also be a topic in these classes, but be sure to talk to your doctor before heading any advice or taking any action in this area.

First, Do No Harm
Before delving into some of the highest rated exercises, which will include a surprise for most women, there are a few precautions. All exercise activities should be shared with your health provider. They may offer extra precautions or advice. Other general rules include:

* Avoid overheating and always keep water handy.
* Use warm-ups and cool-downs to avoid abrupt changes in blood pressure.
* Regularity is the key to long-term gains, and your calorie intake needs to increase with regular exercise.
* Avoid contact sports and those involving serious risk of injury.
* Lying on your back is uncomfortable for a reason. It reduces oxygen flow to the placenta.

Exercising for Maximum Benefit
Most people think of walking as simply a low-intensity method of burning off a few calories. Walking early in the morning allowed me to have cognitive improvement throughout the day. Picking up the pace can increase production of mood-balancing neurochemicals and anti-inflammatory hormones. Several other exercises are great for any woman but especially beneficial during pregnancy.

Kegel exercises strengthened my pelvic floor even when no one was watching. They have been proven to reduce delivery complications and reduce the appearance of symptoms like leaky bladder and hemorrhoids.

* Swimming and water aerobics together offer a great way to maximize blood flow and oxygen delivery as well as tone all the major muscles. Experts recommend this exercise commonly because of the extremely low risk of injury.

* Yoga for a pregnancy classes have become more common in the past decade. Yoga is a complete training program that includes stretches, using the body's resistance to build muscles, increasing awareness of different breathing forms, and increasing stability. This was my favorite exercise!

* For quickly toning the muscles without worry of injuries, nothing beats isotonic and isometric exercises. One example of an exercise I used to do was to clasp the fingers together in front of the body with one palm facing out and the other in. Use one arm to provide mobile resistance while the other arm pulls. The isometric finish utilizes every muscle fiber. Simply pull with both arms as hard as possible, and hold this position for ten seconds.

Combining these and other pregnancy exercises was a healthy way I used to reduce complications and to help increase my overall health—they are simple enough that any mother can do them and prepare herself for a healthy delivery and easy recovery!

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