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The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
- Prevents excessive weight gain
- Improves posture and circulation
- Reduces swelling of hands and feet
- Reduces leg cramps, varicose veins, and back pain
- Helps prevent insomnia, fatigue, and constipation
- May reduce a woman's risk of having gestational diabetes.
- Increases stamina, which will improve labor
Preparing for Postpartum Exercise
- Do not exercise vigorously in hot, humid weather or if you have a fever.
- Avoid jerky, jumping, or bouncing motions, or changing direction suddenly.
- Cool down after all workouts.
- Stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor if you experience pain, dizziness, rapid heart beat, pubic or back pain, bleeding, or palpitations.
- Remember to stay well hydrated.
Tips for Fitting Exercise In
- Trade babysitting with other mothers.
- Buy a jogging stroller.
- Invest in home exercise equipment and some exercise DVDs.
- Find a gym with reputable childcare facilities.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org/
The Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca/
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org/index%5Fe.asp/
Artal R. with Subak-Sharpe, G. Pregnancy and Exercise . New York, NY: Delacorte Press; 1992.
Crowell DT. Weight change in the postpartum period. A review of the literature. Journal of Nurse Midwifery . 1995; 40(5):418-423.
Exercise during pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 30, 2011. Accessed May 21, 2012.
Gallo B, Ross S. Expecting Fitness: How to Modify and Enjoy Your Exercise Program Throughout Your Pregnancy . Los Angeles, CA: Renaissance Books; 1999.
Koltyn KF, Schultes SS. Psychological effects of an aerobic exercise session and a rest session following pregnancy. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 1997;37(4): 287-291.
Larson-Meyer DE. Effect of postpartum exercise on mothers and their offspring: a review of the literature. Obesity Research. 2002;10(8):841-853.
Ringdahl EN. Promoting postpartum exercise: an opportune time for change. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 2002;30:2.
Wallace JP, Inbar G, Ernsthausen K. Infant acceptance of postexercise breast milk. Pediatrics . 1992;89(6 Pt 2):1245-1247.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012
- Update Date: 05/21/2012