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Denise Austin
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Prenatal Exercise

During pregnancy, exercise is even more important than ever. Labor is enhanced if you are physiclly fit. It is important you prepare for labor during your pregnancy by setting up a regular exercise routine. Some research studies have shown women who exercise regularly spend less time in labor. Exercise improves circulation, stamina and balance.
The best exercise for pregnant women need not be strenuous. In fact, a nice brisk walk, swimming, Pilates, low impact aerobics, and yoga are some of the best forms of pregnancy exercise for both women who exercise regularly and those who do not.
While many exercise activities are safe during pregnancy, it is still a good idea to take precautions.

* Avoid activities that may have a high potential for injury, such as extreme sports or sports that may lead to hard falls. These activities include such as: horseback riding, waterskiing, rock climbing, and skating. Remember, pregnant women are often balance-challenged and should look for ways prevent injury.
* Do not workout on an empty stomach. Preferably eat a snack high in potassium, such as a banana, shortly before beginning your workout.
* Dress for the occasion with loose or stretchy clothing and proper fitting exercise shoes that will protect your feet and joints. These will help you remain comfortable during your workout and aid in maintaining good balance and form while exercising.
* Think moderation when pregnant and exercising.
* Never exercise to the point of exhaustion and listen to your body. Pain in the hips, pelvis, chest, or head; cramping; and dizziness are all signs you may need to slow down or stop for the day. Another good indicator that you are overexerting yourself is a pulse rate over 100 beats per minute five minutes after you have stopped exercising.
* Stay hydrated and cool. Avoid exercising in extreme heat or humidity, and avoid hot tubs and saunas. Activity that raises a pregnant woman’s temperature more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit is considered dangerous to the fetus because blood is redirected away from the uterus to cool the mother’s body.
* After the first trimester, it is a good idea to avoid activities that put you flat on your back or require you point your toes. Laying flat on your back can constrict the blood flow to the uterus, and point your toes may lead to leg and muscle cramps.