Walking and Pregnancy

Exercising in pregnancy is good for you. It is also good for your baby. The benefits of exercise in pregnancy are not as well discussed as exercise at other points in your life. Some of the benefits of exercise include:

* Fewer pregnancy complaints (Backache, constipation, etc.)

* Less likely to gain excess weight in pregnancy

* Decreased risk for gestational diabetes

* Easier labor

* Faster recovery from birth

* Your baby will tend to be leaner and calmer

- Pregnant Women Need More Exercise By Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE, About.com

Exercise during pregnancy helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy. It improves circulation (which helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles). It also prevents back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.

Pregnancy often leaves women feeling less energetic, but regular exercise can give you more energy to make it through the day. Your strengthened cardiovascular system will give you more endurance, and stronger muscles will allow you to accomplish tasks with less effort, leaving you more energy to continue through the rest of your day.

Exercise also allows you to sleep better. Most women have some trouble sleeping through the night by the end of their pregnancies. Exercising on a regular basis (and making sure it's at least three hours before you go to bed) will help you work off excess energy and will tire you enough to lull you into a deeper, more restful slumber.

Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, lessen mood swings, improve your self-image, and allows you to feel a sense of control.

Exercise helps prepare you for childbirth. Some studies suggest that the fitness of the mother results in shorter labor, fewer medical interventions, and less exhaustion during labor. Being in shape will not decrease the pain, but it definitely will help give you the endurance needed to get through labor.

Most experts agree that gaining more than the recommended 25 to 35 pounds (for a woman of normal weight) during pregnancy makes it harder to lose the weight after the baby is born. By maintaining your fitness level during pregnancy, you are less likely to gain excess weight. Exercise also maintains your muscle tone and strength. (2000- 2009 American Pregnancy Association)

The ideal excercise for pregnant women is walking. "Walking is an ideal activity during pregnancy because it doesn't stress your body in any way that's unfamiliar," says Mark Fenton, MS, a former competitive race walker and co-author of Walking Through Pregnancy and Beyond: How Expectant Moms Can Walk Through a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy and First Year. (Benefits of Walking During Pregnancy By Dana Sullivan CONSUMER HEALTH INTERACTIVE)

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