A Whole New Game

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is not meant to replace the advice and recommendations of your doctor and/or midwife. Please consult your caregiver before beginning any exercise program.

gym tips photo from SHAPE FIT PREGNANCY

These days, more and more women are staying active during pregnancy and with the experts' blessing. The latest research shows that sports and exercise not only are safe for most pregnant women but also can have tremendous benefits. Regular workouts may reduce your aches and pains, boost your energy and self-esteem, give you more confidence (and perhaps strength) during labor and hasten your recovery after you give birth.

"I have yet to be able to define an upper limit on exercise for pregnant women," says James F. Clapp III, M.D., a professor of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who has conducted research on exercise and pregnancy for the past 15 years. "We've had pregnant women run a marathon, complete a triathlon and do a 25k cross country ski race."

If you aren't already a marathoner or triathlete, however, you'll want to be more cautious about your prenatal exercise regimen. Check with your doctor and read the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Now is not the time to add intensity to your workout, but you'll probably be safe maintaining your present training schedule - until you can't.

Research indicates that exercise during pregnancy is safe and effective not just for women who were fit before getting pregnant, but also for those who had been sedentary. A 1994 University of Miami study showed that women who didn't begin doing aerobics and strength training until their second trimester still significantly improved their cardiovascular fitness.

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