More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy - a time to be ACTIVE!

Exercise provides many health benefits to all of us, but there are extra benefits for pregnant women. Exercise helps keep weight gain at appropriate levels. It may help prevent gestational diabetes. It decreases problems with constipation, which also helps avoid hemorrhoids. It certainly helps you feel better. Physicians debate whether being physically fit decreases the length of labor (maybe) but it does help prepare a woman for the physically hard work of labor.

A recent study indicated that over 75% of pregnant women do not get enough exercise. Data indicate that only 13.8% of pregnant women have regular moderately intensive exercise. If we add women who report vigorous activity as part of their daily lives, the total number of women who exercise or have physically active lifestyles increased to only 22.9%.

The percentage of women meeting exercise guidelines is not increasing. This is despite the fact that some studies have found as much as a 48% reduction of risk of gestational diabetes in women who exercised in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

How much is enough exercise? The best guidelines say 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most days of the week, unless there are medical or pregnancy complications. Pregnant women can enjoy many forms of exercise. Choose activities that you like and that easily work with your schedule.

If you had an exercise routine before becoming pregnant, you can probably continue that routine. If you have been sedentary, start with shorter sessions and build up progressively. Can't fit in an hour at a time? Three vigorous 10 minute walks will still make a significant difference!

Water aerobics or walking laps in a pool is a favorite for many pregnant women. The buoyancy of the water supports your growing abdomen and can help you feel less heavy. There is anecdotal evidence to believe that this abdominal support late in pregnancy may help baby to get in a good position for birth. Whether this is true or not, walking in the pool is good exercise, will help you feel better, and may relieve some slight swelling in your feet or ankles.

If you do an aerobics class, whether water or land aerobics, choose a class designed for pregnant women or a regular class with an instructor who is certified in pregnancy exercise. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need lower impact exercise than other class participants.

Avoid exercise that could be potentially dangerous or where you might be likely to fall on your abdomen (such as skiing). Late in pregnancy, as your shape and center of balance change, you may need to be extra careful about balance. Pay attention to your body and what it is telling you.

After your first trimester, stay away from exercises that position you on your back. When you lie on your back, your baby's weight decreases the blood flow through the abdominal aorta (which also supplies blood to baby).

How vigorously should you exercise? Unless your doctor gives you other guidelines, if you can talk while exercising, you are not overdoing. Make sure you stay well hydrated. Don't over-heat. Exercise indoors (or in a pool) during hot days.

If you have any medical or pregnancy complications, be certain to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Stop exercising and contact your doctor if you experience any dizziness, shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding or contractions, or any symptoms that concern you.

Stay active! For you - and your baby!