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How to Stay Fit and Healthy During Pregnancy
For many women who have always enjoyed a healthy and active lifestyle, staying fit and healthy throughout pregnancy is tremendously important. And, there are other women who may not have previously focused on diet and exercise but recognise the importance of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and choose to make positive changes in these areas.
There is no denying that late in pregnancy, it can be difficult to even walk a couple of blocks or for any prolonged period of time. However, if they were fit and healthy before pregnancy and maintained this while expecting, some women are able to run or even participate in aerobics class just a matter of days before delivering!
So, how can a woman stay fit and healthy during pregnancy?
It is very important that a pregnant woman discusses and plans her exercise and diet regime with her obstetrician, midwife or doctor. If a woman is healthy and fit before, and has a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy, there is often no reason that she cannot continue to cycle, jog, gently lift weights, swim and enjoy other such activities. Of course, the level of intensity at which a woman exercises must be limited and carefully measured, so as not to create problems for the woman or the baby.
Even if a woman has not engaged in a lot of physical activity prior to her pregnancy, there are ways for her to increase her fitness and enhance her well-being in the lead up to the baby’s arrival. Prenatal pilates, yoga and specialised exercise classes are great ways for a woman to begin to exercise in a gentle and controlled way. Similarly, swimming and water-based activities (including: water aerobics) are effective forms of exercise for pregnant women that most often have a positive contribution to a woman’s overall health.
Why should a woman stay fit and healthy throughout pregnancy?
The months of pregnancy are a time in which a woman should (and thoroughly deserves) to be nurtured and take good care of herself. Many women feel great when they invest in gorgeous pieces of maternity wear and others feel uplifted through prenatal massage or other therapies.
For many women, pregnancy can feel as if so much is out of their control. The body that for so many years has been ‘their’s’ is now home to a growing and developing baby and there is little the woman can do to control the changes that inevitably occur. However, when a woman concentrates on her fitness, health and well-being, she can feel confident that she is doing her absolute best – for herself and her baby.
The benefits of being fit and healthy do not end there. A woman that is physically fit and consumes a healthy diet is better placed to experience a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Moreover, being in great shape and well-conditioned means that a woman is fabulously prepared for labour and the physical demands and endurance that are required to give birth.
Isn’t exercise harmful during pregnancy?
Many women (and others) pose this question. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, but generally speaking, gentle exercise is not harmful and may actually have a range of positive effects. Other than its physical benefits for women, a healthy diet and physical activity can provide benefits on social, emotional and psychological levels. Certainly, sporting stylish maternity swimwear and relaxing in water cannot help but have a beneficial effect.
Every pregnant woman should discuss their participation in physical activity with a health professional. There are so many ways that a woman can be fit and healthy during her pregnancy and many of these possibilities will help the woman to prepare for delivery and feel great in the meantime.
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