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Question
Posted by: SP | 2009-11-09

Exercises for pregnant women

Can you please send me a exercise plan for a 16week pregnant woman? My wife is fit and her body type is normal.
Thanks.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi SP

I can't, unfortunately, not in this format. All I can suggest is that she check the Fitness pages of this site and select one of the programmes, depending on her preferences and likes.

THe key is that if she is fit, then she can continue to exercise as she did before. If she has not been training, then it can be risky, because pregnancy is not the ideal time to try to get fit. So it's important to know that.

In terms of exercise, the key is intensity and most exercises are safe provided they are done at a well-controlled intensity, which usually means take it easy! Pregnancy is hardly the time to get fit and improve performance. Nor is it the time to suddenly embark on the weight loss programme that you’d been meaning to tackle for the previous two years! Rather, exercise during pregnancy is all about maintaining, keeping healthy and preparing – the weight loss and fitness can come later.

There are a couple of hotspots or potential problem stages during pregnancy. The first and third trimester are the more risky phases, for different reasons.

In the first trimester, when incredible growth and development is taking place for the baby, it’s important to bear in mind that the baby has a core temperature 1 degree higher than you do. And so when you start to push up the intensity too much your core temperature goes up and consequently so does the baby’s. It is therefore also important that you keep cool during exercise wearing loose clothing and make sure you don’t overdo it and train too hard – remember, the main thing determining your body temperature is how hard you exercise, so take it easy! Also try to exercise in early morning or the evening when it is cooler.

As the pregnancy moves on, the problems become more practical in nature – balance is affected, because your centre of mass changes, and the body also starts to produce a hormone called relaxin, which makes the ligaments much more flexible and lax. The combination of these changes means that joint injuries and small aches and pains become much more prominent. For this reason, activities that are dynamic and quite high impact (like running, aerobics, taebo etc) are probably best phased out from your training. Insteady, things like cycling, swimming, pilates, and weight training may be better options. This is of course entirely dependent on your unique situation – some mothers walk or run into month nine. Others find they can’t and shift to swimming by about the 7th month! Swimming, and water aerobics are two of the best forms of exercise, highly recommended for later in pregnancy. Also, if you are in the gym, avoid heavy weight lifting where you have to strain and hold your breath to lift the weight – rather go lighter and don’t strain.

Here are some additional guidelines for exercise:

• Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back after the 4th month (after the first trimester) as the pregnant uterus may compress the aorta and cause a decrease of blood flow to the fetus.
• Avoid exercise in which there is danger of loss of balance.
• Avoid long periods of motionless standing
• It is NOT recommended that you start an exercise programme in the first trimester if you have been previously inactive.

As your pregnancy progresses and you start to feel more tired you can move your training into the pool and take up swimming or aqua aerobics, which you will find very soothing during the final months of your pregnancy.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2009-11-15

Hi SP

I can't, unfortunately, not in this format. All I can suggest is that she check the Fitness pages of this site and select one of the programmes, depending on her preferences and likes.

THe key is that if she is fit, then she can continue to exercise as she did before. If she has not been training, then it can be risky, because pregnancy is not the ideal time to try to get fit. So it's important to know that.

In terms of exercise, the key is intensity and most exercises are safe provided they are done at a well-controlled intensity, which usually means take it easy! Pregnancy is hardly the time to get fit and improve performance. Nor is it the time to suddenly embark on the weight loss programme that you’d been meaning to tackle for the previous two years! Rather, exercise during pregnancy is all about maintaining, keeping healthy and preparing – the weight loss and fitness can come later.

There are a couple of hotspots or potential problem stages during pregnancy. The first and third trimester are the more risky phases, for different reasons.

In the first trimester, when incredible growth and development is taking place for the baby, it’s important to bear in mind that the baby has a core temperature 1 degree higher than you do. And so when you start to push up the intensity too much your core temperature goes up and consequently so does the baby’s. It is therefore also important that you keep cool during exercise wearing loose clothing and make sure you don’t overdo it and train too hard – remember, the main thing determining your body temperature is how hard you exercise, so take it easy! Also try to exercise in early morning or the evening when it is cooler.

As the pregnancy moves on, the problems become more practical in nature – balance is affected, because your centre of mass changes, and the body also starts to produce a hormone called relaxin, which makes the ligaments much more flexible and lax. The combination of these changes means that joint injuries and small aches and pains become much more prominent. For this reason, activities that are dynamic and quite high impact (like running, aerobics, taebo etc) are probably best phased out from your training. Insteady, things like cycling, swimming, pilates, and weight training may be better options. This is of course entirely dependent on your unique situation – some mothers walk or run into month nine. Others find they can’t and shift to swimming by about the 7th month! Swimming, and water aerobics are two of the best forms of exercise, highly recommended for later in pregnancy. Also, if you are in the gym, avoid heavy weight lifting where you have to strain and hold your breath to lift the weight – rather go lighter and don’t strain.

Here are some additional guidelines for exercise:

• Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back after the 4th month (after the first trimester) as the pregnant uterus may compress the aorta and cause a decrease of blood flow to the fetus.
• Avoid exercise in which there is danger of loss of balance.
• Avoid long periods of motionless standing
• It is NOT recommended that you start an exercise programme in the first trimester if you have been previously inactive.

As your pregnancy progresses and you start to feel more tired you can move your training into the pool and take up swimming or aqua aerobics, which you will find very soothing during the final months of your pregnancy.

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