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Its an exciting time,when you start getting pregnancy symptoms, if correct, your body is about to undergo some big changes. Many times, women who have never really thought about what they do during pregnancy, suddenly find themselves running everything through the filter of what is right for them and what is right for the baby.

One thing that is good for both mother and baby is exercise, but it must be done with certain precautions - most importantly, you should seek medical advice before starting any exercise programme.

Once you have been cleared by your doctor, there are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy:

  • Exercise during pregnancy will increase your stamina.
  • It will reduce the risk of excess weight gain during the months leading up to delivery.
  • Research has shown that exercise improves the labour process. Women who regularly exercised during pregnancy have easier, shorter labours and use less medical help than those who don't exercise.
  • Exercise helps to relax both the body and mind.
  • Exercise helps to regulate core body temperature. This is extremely important as this allows the foetus to develop at a normal - or even increased - rate.
  • Research has shown that the babies of exercising mothers have higher IQ's than babies of mothers who don't.

The keys to safe exercise at this time are:
  • Never push yourself to hard - maintaining your shape and fitness is the key, not development.
  • Resistance training should be focussed on toning the upper body and abdominal wall. Avoid excessive lifting above the head to protect your back.
  • From around 4-5 months, avoid all exercises performed flat on your back.
  • Be sure to stretch well after exercise. This will maintain or even improve the elasticity of your muscles.
  • In general, you should exercise 3 times a week, performing a combination of both resistance and cardiovascular exercises. Keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute.

If you follow these guidelines, you will increase your chances of an easy delivery and a swift post-natal recovery.




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