So many people believe that you should be sedentary during pregnancy but quite the contrary. Exercise will help you stay in shape and most importantly prepare you for labor and delivery. Exercise has been known to ease or prevent common pregnancy discomforts such as back pain and fatigue. It certainly will assist in preventing too much weight gain. Exercise also has been known to decrease the risk of postpartum depression.

Before you begin an exercise program, make sure you have your health care provider’s permission. Those with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or preterm labor, must have a specifically tailored exercise program prepared for them.

Exercise Options

For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended four to seven days in the week Walking is a great exercise for everyone. Other exercise options include swimming and cycling on a stationary bike. Strength training is acceptable as well as long as you are careful lifting weights.

If you are a beginner exerciser, start slowly. Even 5 to 10 minutes a day or every other day will be a positive way to start. Specialists report that if you are an athlete or have routinely exercised before pregnancy you can almost always continue at the same level throughout the pregnancy as long as it is deemed a healthy pregnancy. Remembering to stretch before and after exercise and to increase fluids in order to stay hydrated is important.

Exercising to lose weight during pregnancy is dangerous. You should not be on a diet or be exercising for weight loss reasons. This can be potentially dangerous to you and the baby.

Physical activities that involve high altitudes are generally discouraged, as are contact sports and activities that pose a high risk of falling.

Whether pregnant or not, it is hard to stay motivated to exercise so start small, find a friend or convince a family member to exercise with you. It can also be a time that you listen to music. If you prefer there are exercise classes at fitness centers and sometimes hospitals offer ones for pregnant women.

Exercise is clearly important but you should be aware of the signs that shout “slow down” or “stop” and those include dizziness, headache, chest pain, abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. Call your health care provider if you experience any of these during or after exercising.

Exercise will definitely help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build strength for labor and delivery. Smile when you exercise. Know you are doing something good for yourself and the baby.

Why Exercise Pelvic Muscles?
If you are a woman you most likely have heard about Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises (developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel) help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic muscles can weaken due to pregnancy, childbirth and being overweight. Pelvic muscles need to be strengthened in order to stay strong. Kegel exercises are excellent for all women especially those who are pregnant and those who have bladder control problems.

How do you exercise your pelvic muscles?
You should tighten the two major muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor. If you try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet and you are successful then you are using the correct muscles. Now you want to tighten and release those muscles and that is simply the Kegel exercise.

Try not to tighten your other muscles in your stomach or legs for example and don’t hold your breath. Just squeeze your pelvic muscles. If you have never done Kegel exercises before than don’t overdo it. Pull in your pelvic muscles and hold for a count of five then relax and work up to 12 to 15 repeats.

The neat thing about pelvic exercise is that you can do it anywhere and at anytime. You can do them lying down, sitting down, or standing up. Using all three positions will actually make the muscles stronger. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles for just a few minutes just a few times per day will make a big difference.

Also if you can catch yourself and before you sneeze or lift an object, squeeze your pelvic muscles. This will cause less strain in that area and of course continue to help strengthen the pelvic muscles.