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The Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

There are 2 safety concerns when exercising during pregnancy:
#1. Safety of baby
#2. Safety of mom

Having said that, you are pregnant not SICK! Can Fit Pro guidelines allow 30 minutes of exercise every day as safe in a normal low risk pregnancy. Incorporate both cardio and strength training into your prenatal routine- use alternating days. Perform flexibility exercises every day- as part of your warm up/cool down, or simply on their own as a relaxation and loosening up routine. Do not use pregnancy as an excuse to be sedentary and have a poor diet. Neglecting your fitness will result in a more difficult recovery- physically, mentally and emotionally! However, do not approach pregnancy as a time to "get into shape"- your body will not have the resources to greatly improve your fitness level. Approach pregnancy as an opportunity to maintain your current level of fitness, while gently targeting crucial areas for strengthening to offset your physical discomfort, and to prepare you for labour!

There are MANY advantages to exercising during pregnancy. Here are just a few:

FOR MOM:
1. Although pregnancy is tiring, exercising really will give you more energy!
2. Sweating helps you to eliminate toxins and to reduce swelling.
3. Maintain a positive self image, which has physical, emotional and mental benefits.
4. A healthier pregnancy, strengthening the muscles needed for labor and delivery, which can ease delivery and labor time, and a faster recovery.
5. Alleviates some pregnancy symptoms by developing strength to control proper movements and maintain balance offsets as your baby grows.
6. Improves muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness.
7. Reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
8. Prevents excess weight gain.
9. Improves sleep patterns.
10. Preparing to hold and carry a growing child.
11. Improves appearance and posture.
12. Promotes circulation and stimulating the digestive processes (which help prevent hemorrhoids, constipation, varicose veins, leg cramps and swelling in the ankles).
13. Alleviates some of the discomforts of pregnancy, such as lower back pain.

FOR BABY:

1. Redirecting blood flow to working muscles "trains" your baby to adapt to gentle controlled physical stress, which trains the baby to prepare for the stress of labour.
2. Preparing the fetus to transition to the non-maternal environment.
3. Increasing placental efficiency for blood circulation, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to fetus.
4. Decreasing fetal fat without decreasing overall growth of the fetus.
5. Increasing newborn's readiness to self-calm and self-quiet.
6. Increasing fetal movement.

It is common for women to wait until their 4th month of pregnancy to begin exercising. During the first trimester nausea can be strong, energy levels can be low, and the risk of miscarriage is the highest. If you already subscribe to an exercise program it is recommended that you continue at least a consistent light effort throughout your first trimester; however, you can recommence in Month 4 if you choose to take a break. If you are previously inactive, it is not recommended that you begin a new program until your 4th month; in the first trimester simply walk and stretch. When it IS time to begin prenatal training, whatever the case, find a certified prenatal trainer!



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