Friday, February 8, 2008

Fitness for Expectant Mothers: Part 1

Some Unique Considerations


The Emotional Gain

When you're pregnant and bloated, why in the world would you want to put on an exercise outfit, look at yourself in the mirror, and work out? Believe it or not, exercise can actually help you feel better. Instead of thinking of the weight factor, think of exercise as giving you a needed emotional boost. Studies have shown that exercise releases serotonin, a chemical that can enhance your mood and lift your spirits. I've often heard that giving birth can be compared to preparing for and running a marathon. Preparing for your baby with an exercise program will make your birth that much easier, as you'll develop a sense of focus, strength, and determination.

Improved Energy Levels

Most likely your energy levels will be affected during pregnancy. Stronger heart and lungs, well-toned muscles, and increased flexibility will give you more zip during the day because you'll require less energy to do everyday tasks.


Many women are uneasy about the size of their bodies during pregnancy. Instead of focusing on this, get out and get active. Not only will it benefit your self-image, it will make it easier to lose the weight postpartum.

Sleep Better

It is quite common for women to have trouble sleeping during the later months of pregnancy. Exercising regularly is a great way to relax the body. But make sure you don't do a workout two to three hours before going to sleep, as the adrenaline from a workout can keep you up.

Improved Circulation

Circulation in the legs can be a problem for manyexpecting mothers. An exercise program can relieve varicose veins, swelling, and leg cramps.

Prevent Low-Back Pain

Strengthening the muscles of the lower back and abdominals can prevent some of the hip and back pain that women complain of during pregnancy. Low-back pain is common due to the extra weight you're carrying around.


Transporting Your Newborn

A common complaint of new moms who didn't follow an exercise program during pregnancy is "I am so sore just carrying my baby around!" Remember, you'll also be carrying/pulling a stroller, a tote bag of goodies, and other baby accessories. Toning and strengthing the upper body (arms and shoulders) and the lower body (legs and back, for walking you and your baby up and down the stairs) is extremely important.

The Stretching Factor

So your belly has been stretched and pulled to a shape of unrecognizable proportions. Ah, to be able to fit into that bikini by summer. Well, as long as you give yourself ample time, that dream can be a reality. Daily exercise will help you attain your goal and help you feel good in the process.

Excerpted from

Buff Moms-to-Be: The Complete Guide to Fitness for Expectant Mothers
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble