Body Sculpting During Pregnancy
Remaining active during
pregnancy offers several benefits to the mother and baby. The key to reaping
such benefits is to adjust your
exercise program in order to make it safe for you and your baby during this
period. Keep in mind that the goal of exercising
during pregnancy is to maintain your present level of fitness, not to
Benefits of Training during Pregnancy
Some of the benefits that exercise offers to expecting mothers are:
Speedier recovery after
Increased sense of well-being and self esteem during and after pregnancy.
Larger placenta, which in turn provides an increased nutrient base for the
Decreased risk of excessive
weight gain caused by an increase of fat storage.
Stronger lower back, which in turn reduces the risk of lower
Boost in energy levels.
Higher chances of achieving labor either a few days earlier or on time.
Preparation for the stresses imposed by
labor and delivery.
The amount of exercise that mothers-to-be will be able to tolerate during these
nine months is directly related to how active they were before becoming
pregnant. If a woman has never exercised before in her life, pregnancy is not
the time to start a full-blown
and intense aerobics
program. Starting a weight-training program is very traumatic on the body. A
more sensible approach for someone who has never exercised before is to start a
mild daily 20 to 30 minute aerobics program consisting of
walking at a normal pace.
Why walking? Because walking is one of the most natural and safest forms of
exercise. During pregnancy, it is crucial to choose exercises that do not result
in a loss of balance,
since a fall could prove fatal for both the mother and the baby. Therefore,
aerobic, activities such as aerobic dance, bench step classes, kickboxing
aerobics, and roller blading are all out of the question.
There are certain precautions you will need to incorporate in your walking
program in order to make it safe. Remember that the goal during this period is
to maintain, not to improve, so your workout
be mild to moderate. In other words, you should walk at a normal pace and should
not attempt to push yourself.
Health Factors to Keep in mind
Pushing yourself can create undue stress upon your body and will increase
your chances of reaching two conditions that should be avoided at all times
during pregnancy. They are:
rate should never exceed 140 beats per minute. Be especially careful to
monitor your heart rate during exercise. This can easily be done by counting
the amount of times your heart beats in 10 seconds while you are performing
the activity and then multiplying that number by 6. This will give you the
amount of beats per minute. To avoid raising your heart rate too high, walk at
a normal pace.
Your body temperature should never exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38
degrees Celsius). Walk at a normal pace and choose a time and place where it
is neither hot nor humid. Walking either early in the morning or in the late
afternoon is best. Also, avoid wearing clothing that is too warm. If youíd
rather walk indoors, do not use a motorized treadmill since it is easy to trip
and fall while using this equipment. Instead, use the non-motorized models
where you are the one that sets the pace. Other good forms of indoor exercises
for expectant mothers are
swimming and water walking.
If you have been active prior to your pregnancy, then you may continue your
activities as long as they are not activities that could result in a loss of
balance and as long as you remember to lower your intensity levels to prevent an
increased body temperature and heart rate. Again, we emphasize that the
goal during this period is maintenance and not improvement. Therefore, donít
Training Program Modifications during Pregnancy
Women who are involved in weight training should follow a program with the
Increase your rest
periods in between sets to two minutes in order to maintain a normal body
temperature and a low pulse
(below 140 beats).
Perform only 3 sets per exercise.
In order to stay away from reaching muscular failure choose a weight that you
can perform for 12-15 repetitions and perform 8-10 repetitions per set instead.
Eliminate exercises where you have to lay down flat on your back (such as flat
press) since this position can decrease blood flow to the uterus and
therefore to the baby.
Eliminate exercises that may cause a loss of balance such as
Instead, substitute exercises like seated
extensions. If you have access to machines, this is the perfect time to use
During pregnancy, it is better being locked in a
two-dimensional (machines) universe rather than three (free weights)
since it makes the exercises safer and eliminates the possibility of losing
balance. Also by using machines, secondary stabilizer muscles, such as
pelvic muscles, are not activated. This is good at this time because we
donít want to create
stress during pregnancy. Machines also greatly decrease a chance of
During pregnancy, a loosening of the joints occurs. This loosening allows
ligaments and tendons to stretch in preparation for delivery. Because of
this, there is a higher risk of incurring a soft tissue injury if free
weights are used. If you choose to continue using free weights during this
period, remember to pay close attention to your exercise form and to choose
your exercises carefully.
You must avoid any exercises where you have to lay down flat on your
stomach. For instance, do standing or seated leg curls rather than lying leg
Donít hold your breath
while exercising: otherwise you can cut the oxygen supply to your baby.
Taking all of these points into consideration, you can begin on
weight training program during pregnancy.