Consult your physician before beginning a new routine**

During pregnancy you will still be able to participate in many of the activities you did before conceiving. Along with exercise, the amount of food required is often misunderstood. The whole “you’re eating for two” line is false and usually leads to excess fat gained. The amount you should gain depends on your B.M.I (body mass index) at the time of conception. Refer to the chart below.

Pregnancy weight

For single birth

For twins

Underweight (BMI) >18.5

28-40 lbs gained

Healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9)

25-35 lbs gained

37-54 lbs gained

Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9)

15-25 lbs gained

31-50 lbs gained

Obese (BMI ≥ 30)

11-20 lbs gained

25-42 lbs gained

As you can see above, women with a higher BMI require a lot less additional weight. For healthy women an additional 3 ½ lbs gained during the first trimester, and 1 lb per week until birth is required. The additional fat gained will be used later on for lactation and is necessary. Physical activity has been shown to improve the health of both the developing fetus as well as the mother.

By taking the proper precautions needed, the risk of the baby being harmed during exercise is very minimal. One of the biggest concerns is an elevation in the body temperature during exercise. Hydration is extremely important as well as keeping your HR (heart rate) within the correct intensity. An elevated HR will cause a temperature increase so it is not recommended that pregnant women exercise in hot or humid conditions. After 12 weeks the prone (on stomach) as well as the supine (on back) position should be avoided. Avoid the hip adductor/abductor machines and any jarring or twisting movements that can place additional stress upon the core.

Low impact exercises that elevate the heart rate such as step aerobics, treadmill walking, stationary cycling, and water aerobics are preferred for elevating the heart. Keep your H.R about 65-75% of your H.R max. It’s recommended that cardio be performed for up to 30 minutes at a time, 3-5 days a week for expecting mothers in the first two trimesters and less during the last.

Core stabilization exercises should be the foundation of your resistance program with the goal of strengthening the pelvic musculature. Light loads are used with the repetition range of about 12-15 reps per exercise. Resistance training should be included 2-3 days per week along with cardio.

You only need 300 extra calories a day during the last two trimesters to maintain a healthy weight!!!!

After child birth, getting back into the gym is a good thing, but you will need to take it slow at first. This is a great time to reeducate joint alignment, fix your posture, work on muscle imbalances and strengthen the core. Foam rolling can be used but you must avoid varicose veins that are sore, or areas that are swollen.

(Webb, Frances Sizer., and Eleanor Noss. Whitney. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.)

Philip Dolgovin

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