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13 Feb 2003

excersice and pregnancy
i am trying to fall pregnant, is exercise okay. When i am pregnant, can i still carry on as
before with my exercise.

Thanx
Answer 417 views
Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi AN

Yes, you can continue. When you fall pregnant, again you can continue, however, your gynae must just notify you on any precautions you might need to take. I am attaching a story written by our Peak Biokinetics Manager on exercise during her pregnancy, which might interest you.


PREGNANCY AND EXERCISE (A personal & professional view)
Angie Lander, Peak Biokinetics, Sport Science Institute of SA

Most guidelines are conservative and suggest “no jarring or high impact activities” during pregnancy, instead encouraging walking, stretching and swimming and avoiding strenuous activities.

My obstetrician gave me sound advice and told me to continue with whatever exercise my body was accustomed to – but to stop if there was any pain or discomfort. This was good news, but I still felt I needed more specific guidelines about an appropriate exercise regime before continuing with my regular running programme. Therefore I decided to do a bit of research of my own.

This was what I discovered……
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
You will need to modify the intensity, frequency, speed and length of your exercise sessions while pregnant and gradually reduce these factors more as your pregnancy progresses.
In terms of intensity most research recommends training at a heart rate of less than 150b/min. Your resting heart rate while pregnant increases by 10-20% more than your non-pregnant state.

Exercise intensity affects a mother’s core temperature, so if your heart rate exceeds 150b/min, your core temperature can increase significantly. However, given that exercise intensity generally decreases as pregnancy progresses, core temperature generally decreases too. An increase in core temperature (of more than 38º C) will increase foetal temperature and can impair development, particularly if it occurs during the first trimester, when most foetal development takes place.

As your uterus enlarges, so the diaphragm is raised, particularly in late gestation. Breathing during exercise then becomes more laboured and the oxygen consumed relative to your body weight is progressivelly reduced. Therefore your exercise intensity will largely be dictated by the difficulty of your breathing.

STRETCHING
If you are the type of exerciser who doesn't stretch, you are going to need to change your ways. Appropriate stretching both before and after exercising will help to prevent injuries. Relaxin, the hormone that relaxes your ligaments to facilitate both the carrying and passage of the foetus, works throughout pregnancy. Loose joints and stretched ligaments, however, make you more vulnerable to injury whilst pregnant. Therefore it is important to focus on stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, glutes, lower back and calves.

So my advice to those of you wanting to stay fit while you are pregnant is to keep exercising and stay healthy!! BUT - listen to your body.
If, however, you have had a complicated pregnancy with any of the conditions below, then it is NOT recommended that you do any intense exercise.

Ø Bleeding
Ø Incompetent cervix
Ø Pre-eclampsia
Ø Multiple pregnancy
Ø Diabetes
Ø Poor physical fitness before pregnancy

Some of the benefits of regular exercise while pregnant are:

Ø Shorter labour
Ø Less maternal weight gain & reduced
“postpartum tummy”
Ø Improved circulation & reduced risk of varicose veins
Ø Reduced risk of back pain
Ø Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
Ø Lower incidence of pregnancy complications
Ø Reduced fatigue and anxiety

By: Angie Lander, Peak Biokinetics, SSISA ph: 689-2707 (021)

My final comments (Fitnessdoc) : I would recommend that you exercise conservatively during your pregnancy; walking, indoor cycling and swimming are excellent options. If you have ANY major discomfort or bleeding, seek out the assistance of your doctor IMMEDIATELY - your developing baby's health is obviously your primary concern! Also, you might want to have a consultation with Angie Lander (phone number above).

Good luck and I hope your pregnancy goes very well.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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