Whether you're a fitness novice or a seasoned competitor, exercise during pregnancy is vital.

With all

Pregnant woman

the changes that pregnancy brings to your body, it's important to take it easy. However, it's equally important that you balance rest with moderate exercise to prepare your body for the intensity of labor and delivery. Complete Women's Health

care of Johns Creek offers this guide to staying active as you prepare for the arrival of your baby.

What can exercise do for me during pregnancy?

There are several benefits of exercising throughout the duration of your pregnancy:

-You may find that your back pain and other uncomfortable symptoms are eased or alleviated.
-Your mood will likely be better and you'll feel more energetic.
-You'll sleep more soundly and comfortably.
-You'll be able to maintain a healthy weight gain.
-You'll boost your stamina and muscle strength - this can be especially beneficial during labor.

Studies show that exercise during pregnancy may prevent the development of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. The incidence of postpartum depression has also shown to be lessened in mothers who remained active throughout their pregnancy.

What kind of exercise should I be doing?

Experts suggest about 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise for women who aren't experiencing any complications with their pregnancy. Walking is an excellent choice for women of all fitness levels, and can easily be fit into a daily routine. Swimming and riding a stationary bike also provide aerobic activity without stressing the joints. Yoga is calming and promotes flexibility. Regardless of what you choose to do, it's important to stay hydrated and not overdo it. If you haven't exercised before or it's been awhile since your last workout, start small with just five to ten minutes of activity each day and gradually work up.

What should I avoid?

Before beginning any exercise, you must talk to your northeastern Atlanta OBGYN. You may be at risk for complications if you have a multiple pregnancy or pre-existing heart or lung conditions.

There are a few exercise routines that all pregnant women should abstain from. These include:

-Lifting heavy weights - You can still participate in strength training, but work with your doctor and a personal trainer to determine the best course of action.
-After your first trimester, any exercises that require lying flat on your back
-Scuba diving
-Contact sports, such as ice hockey, soccer, and basketball, or those that pose a greater risk of falling (skiing, gymnastics, surfing, or horseback riding)

If you experience any of the following symptoms while exercising, you should stop and contact Dr. Kasparek, Dr. Rao or Dr. Martinez immediately:

-Increased shortness of breath
-Chest pain
-Uneven or rapid heartbeat
-Uterine contractions that continue after rest
-Vaginal bleeding
-Fluid leaking from your vagina
-Decreased fetal movement

Keeping your body active during your pregnancy is not only advantageous for you, but for your baby's health as well. Contact your Fulton County women's center, Complete Women's Healthcare, for any further questions.

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