Monday, November 10, 2008

Staying Healthy and Low-Risk: Pregnancy/Prenatal Exercise & Fitness

Exercise during pregnancy:
  • Tailor Sitting – on the floor, soles of the feet together, knees out to the sides. Gently lower the knees to the floor. Practice this 3 times daily.
  • Squatting – back against the wall or against the birth partner. With feet shoulder-width apart, slowly lower yourself (keeping heels on the floor) into a squatting position, hold for 20 seconds and gently raise back up to a standing position. Practice several times per day, extending the hold time as you are able to.
  • Pelvic Rocking – In hands and knees position, knees shoulder-width apart and hands below you, flatten your back, then tuck in your rear, then flatten your back again. Be careful not to let your back fall into a downward arch, but focus on a flat back and tuck in the rear. Do this 25 times, twice daily.
  • Kegels – If you are new to this you can practice first when urinating with a full bladder. Stop the flow and then allow it to start again. This will help you find the muscles to use for this exercise. Take caution because this can lead to urinary tract infections, so do not do this if you are experienced with these exercises. Practice sets of 10, squeezing and releasing, up to a total of 50 to 150 per day. More information about Kegels.
  • Perineal Massage - This helps to stretch the perineum (wall of tissue between the birth canal and rectum) and prevent tearing during birth. How to perform Perineum Massage.
  • Birth Ball – forward leaning position is favorable to encourage the baby into a good position.
  • In addition to the above, moderate exercise is recommended, about 30 to 60 minutes per day, including walking, swimming, prenatal yoga classes, and pregnancy exercise videos. With yoga it's important to follow prenatal guidelines, as some yoga holds and breathing methods are not recommended during pregnancy. More about Prenatal Yoga.

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