Q&A - Exercise and Pregnancy
I Love To Exercise - How will that affect my ability to conceive and carry a baby?
Good for You! Exercise is a splendid way to stay fit and to keep you in a good state-of-mind. The release of endorphins during exercise helps to keep things in perspective and helps drive away the feelings of lethargy and mental fatigue. If you've been exercising consistently, then there's no reason to stop - although you may have to adjust the way you are doing some of your exercises.
Great Preparation for Pregnancy
There's no evidence that exercise affects conception for women. If anything, it's great preparation in terms of readying the body by making it stronger to carry the baby without great physical difficulty. It's been shown also that women who are fit have an easier time during labor and delivery and they bounce back faster after the birth of their baby. Exercise does affect men though. If a man is doing heavy workouts there is a potential that he could affect his sperm count and motility. It would be wise for him to lighten-up while he and his partner are trying to conceive.
Baby Benefits As Well-Pregnancy Exercise
Here's another really neat thing - the baby benefits from exercise during pregnancy. What a bonus! Dr. James Clapp, in his book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, says studies show "babies of women who exercise during pregnancy tolerate the stress of contractions better than the babies of women who stopped exercising during their pregnancies. These babies also seemed more mature at birth, with superior abilities to self-soothe and be more alert."
"While we don't know definitely the reason for these findings, there is ample evidence to conclude that maternal exercise impacts the fetus in positive ways," says Dr. Clapp.
There have been many changes over the years to the approach to fitness for pregnant women. Exercise reduces stress and can help to balance out the emotional ups and downs every woman goes through during pregnancy. As we said at the beginning - exercise just makes you feel better about everything.
Have Fun But Be Careful--Pregnancy Safety
A word or two of caution is in order. If you haven't exercised before becoming pregnant, beginning a strenuous program when you conceive is not a good idea. It is important to check in with your doctor before beginning a new routine or when you discover you are pregnant. It's always important to have your doctor agree with any exercise regimen you're about to embark upon.
There are also a few things to watch for when exercising while pregnant which could be danger signals. If you feel dizzy or faint, sick to your stomach or very tired, pay heed. If, when exercising you experience vaginal bleeding or changes in your body temperature, swelling in your feet, hands and/or ankles, pain in your abdomen or chest or blurred vision - stop immediately and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Enjoy! Pregnancy Exercise Fun
Exercise is fun and healthy. Both you and your baby will benefit. Avoid extreme sports and intense exercise. Keep your heart-rate well within the limits of safety for pregnancy and go for it!