Did you know that exercise is valuable not only in everyday life, but especially in pregnancy? The ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends that women get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in daily. Effective movement and exercise on a daily basis has the awesome benefits of increased muscle retention, improved aerobic capacity, and increased maternal comfort. Some Moms have even experienced more comfortable and shorter labors than on average and their babies have been shown to have higher Apgar scores!
So, now we have you convinced, right? It’s time to get movin’, and MHC is the place to map out your workout schedule. Remember it is important to workout with a professional trained in the needs of the pregnant body and exercise science. That is just what we provide, the best prenatal exercise teachers in the city. Prenatal Bootcamp class begins tomorrow, so get on board and sign up for 6 weeks of classes. The bootcamp focuses on fitness with the use of weights and resistance bands, and the class is designed to help you maintain muscle mass and increase cardiac health.
We also have the most comprehensive Prenatal Yoga program in Houston, and it goes without saying that our classes are all in the cool indoors. With offerings 6 days a week, you can find a class every day that will fit in your schedule and keep you energized and less stressed.
Rylie, our fantastic Prenatal Bootcamp instructor, has written a fascinating article about prenatal exercise with details about how it affects your body and what prenatal exercise can do for you.
How and Why to Exercise During the Prenatal Period
By Rylie Pittard Platt CPT, CSN
Many of us recognize that exercise is a necessary part of life to achieve optimum health, but it is not until recent history that a push has been made to establish a healthy level of activity during pregnancy. In fact, many women are not aware of the benefits that a regular exercise routine can have on pregnancy and labor outcomes. This has resulted in a less than stellar participation rate, with only 1 in 4 women reaching the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Newswise, 2012).
Though the introduction of the knowledge of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy may be new to the general public, it is not new to the world of science. Research conducted since the 1980’s has determined that increased muscle retention, improved aerobic capacity, expanded tidal volume, and increased maternal comfort are all positive benefits of exercising during pregnancy (Wang, 1998). In fact, the effects of prenatal exercise have even indicated benefits that supersede that of the mother alone, as some studies have demonstrated improved Apgar (assessment at birth) scores of infants (Morris, 2005). Similarly, women who regularly participate in prenatal fitness on average were found to have experienced shorter and more comfortable labors (Morris, 2005).
Before picking up a regular training routine, it is important to learn how to safely exercise during pregnancy, as there are some very specific factors that are unique to the prenatal period. Maternal core temperature, for example, should remain below 102.6 degree Fahrenheit (Wang, 2005). This can be accomplished by choosing a fitness program that takes place indoors. The rationale behind this is that if the core temperature rises too high (especially during the first trimester), it is theorized that it can have an adverse effect on the development of the fetus (Wang, 1998). Also, the hormone relaxin and increased weight gain of pregnancy lead to joint instability, so all activities involving any rotation about the major joints must be planned carefully as well as specific choices in the weight used during resistance training (). Because of these factors, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends engaging in programs that are specifically designed for the prenatal period (Wang, 1998).
A good prenatal fitness class will be held indoors for at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity. Any resistance used should be mild to moderate, which may traditionally include dumbbells and bands with the focus of maintaining muscle mass and to increase cardiac output. It is also important that in picking a class that you determine the instructor or trainer is educated in exercise science as well as versed in those issues specific to the prenatal period.
Few Women Get Enough Exercise During Pregnancy. (2012). Newswise: News for Journalists. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/few-women-get-enough-exercise-during-pregnancy
Morris, S., & Johnson, N. (2005). Exercise During Pregnancy a Critical Appraisal of the Literature. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 50(3), 181-188.
Wang, T., & Apgar, B. (1998). Exercise During Pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians, 1, 1-7.