Getting In Shape for Pregnancy

July 1, 2010

If you've been mulling over the idea of having a baby, you may want to consider the idea of beginning a preconception fitness program. A woman should start a course of regular exercise at least 3 months before she wants to conceive. If you are already really good about getting in a decent amount of exercise on a regular basis (you rock!), you may want to make some changes in your routine. The level of physical activity you attain prior to conception is the determining factor in how much activity you can undertake while pregnant.

One of the goals of a preconception exercise plan is to achieve your optimal weight. Exercise is the safest way to attain this goal. Your pre-pregnant weight affects risk factors for a variety of pregnancy complications including delivery complications, gestational diabetes, and miscarriage.

Preconception Physical Exercises

But aside from weight, a good preconception fitness plan will include exercises that help prepare you for the physical stresses of pregnancy. Aerobics, strength training and flexibility exercises all fit the bill for this purpose.

Aerobic exercises should be done 3-4 times weekly. These exercises are good for your heart. In terms of conception, aerobic exercise helps move nutrients and oxygen to your eggs. This type of exercise can also improve your sleep patterns. Not yet convinced?

Emotional Well-Being and Conception

Aerobic exercise can contribute to feelings of emotional well-being and if continued into pregnancy, will help you maintain a healthy weight. Women who continue a course of regular aerobic exercise during their pregnancies experience lighter pregnancy symptoms and may not suffer so much from issues like backache and constipation. Swimming, jogging, cycling, and walking are all adequate forms of aerobic exercise.

In addition to aerobic exercises, a woman should do strength training each day. This type of exercise involves the use of weights and/or resistance. The purpose of strength training is to increase lean body mass as you strengthen your back, pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, and lower body. All of these muscles are worked hard during pregnancy.

Flexibility exercises complement strength training exercises. These exercises include stretching and yoga and can help cut your risk for trauma to muscles and tendons during exercise sessions. They can also help you release the tension from your body. 

Before you embark on your preconception exercise plan, check out these tips:

*See your doctor before you start any exercise program.

*Pick an exercise activity you enjoy, so exercise time won't become something you dread.

*Pick a time for exercise and don't deviate from your schedule.

*Get a friend to be your exercise buddy for added motivation.

*Start slow and always stop when you are tired or hurt.

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