By Autumn Calabrese
fitness photo autumnWhen a woman becomes pregnant there are hundreds of questions she may have. For a woman who enjoys being physically active one big question may be “How much is too much when it comes to exercise?”

If you are a healthy woman with no restrictions or complications with your pregnancy this question can be easily answered with a few pointers on how to take care of you and your baby when you exercise.

Most women can continue to exercise just as they had before they conceived. Here are a few things to pay special attention to. Keep aerobic activity to 45minutes or less and don’t exercise in hot or humid weather. Overheating can be harmful to the developing fetus. When it is hot, exercise indoors with the air conditioning on or in the early morning or late afternoon. Be sure to wear clothing that breaths such as cotton and most importantly drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration can slow blood flow which can limit nutritional flow to your baby. Dehydration can also predispose you to premature labor.

That being said, your next question may be “Why take the risk?” Exercise during pregnancy is not a risk when done properly. In fact there are several benefits to you and your baby if you exercise throughout your pregnancy.
Exercising moms gain about 8lbs less than non-exercising moms. Studies show that 65% of women who exercise until term will deliver in less than 4 hours, and will deliver 5-7 days earlier than non-exercising women. The placenta of moms who exercise grows bigger and faster. This allows for more nutrients and oxygen to get to the growing baby thus having a healthier baby. Continuing regular exercise throughout pregnancy decreases fetal fat without decreasing overall growth. This means a much smaller chance of your baby having weight issues as a child, adolescent and adult. Also, babies whose moms exercised during pregnancy are calmer and sleep better throughout the night.

Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about the types of exercise you should do. Just remember to get a doctors consent before starting any physical fitness program.

It is important to start with a warm-up. Taking a brisk walk is a great way to get the body moving. You can also use walking for aerobic activity, just pick up the pace and keep it going for 30 minutes. Other good forms of aerobic activity are jogging, bicycling, or hiking. After your aerobic activity it is important to do a few toning and strengthening exercises.

Last but not least, be sure to stretch. Stretching is very important, especially for the lower back to keep those muscles from getting too tight and uncomfortable. Be sure not to push your stretches too far. You don’t want to push too far and pull anything.
You now have the basics on how to exercise through your pregnancy. This is just the tip of the iceberg and working out can be a lot of fun while you are pregnant.
Autumn Calabrese is the founder of Mighty Mommies Fitness, a private training company dedicated to teaching women how to take care of their bodies, stay lean and fit and still feel sexy and strong. Autumn’s fierce and effective technique incorporates the best of cardio, plyometrics, pilates, sculpting, and weight training to achieve optimal results.