Monday, March 5, 2012

Exercising While Pregnant

Posted by Amy Baranski

Taking on 12 new things for our blog this year, in addition to being pregnant for the first time, did make me think what the hell am I doing? I decided to take advantage of our blog's format to accomplish things I've been dying to do before baby arrives. It provides a framework for my mental and physical preparation for baby's big debut.

I purposefully picked activities to complement my 12 exciting months of 2012. This month we are taking the plunge with water aerobics! I have always loved the water, specifically being in water. Fresh water, salt water, even pool water. Will my baby love water too?

I joined the fun last Friday at the hydrofit deep water exercise class at Green Lake Park. While baby works out in utero I jumped into an 85 degree pool for some hydrofitness. I adore experiencing new things with my baby already. Squee!

Aerobic exercise during pregnancy?

Old beliefs and lack of scientific research have led many people to think it's bad for pregnant women to practice aerobic exercise. The guidelines published by the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) actually recommend 30 minutes of it a day! Always consult your doctor or midwife before starting any new work out routine. Each woman carries her own set risks and needs.

Read ACOG's FAQ on exercising while pregnant, and bookmark their site for general gynecological health awareness for you and or your teen girl. Lastly, monitor your heart rate during aerobic exercise. This practice is good in general. Use a tool like the Mayo Clinic online heart rate calculator to see what your target range is. Ask all questions and air all concerns with your health care provider before starting something new.

Is hydrofit deep water exercise okay for me and my baby?

I had the same question the night before my first class and texted my friend Ann for advice. She said I could totally do it. After going, I agree! If health care provider encourages moderate exercise during your pregnancy water aerobics such as hydrofit deep water may be right for you. Take the plunge.

Hydrofit is a class offered by Seattle Parks and Recreation. Their website describes it thus:
"This non-impact deep water class incorporates muscular strengthening, aerobics conditioning, and abdominal toning exercises. In it you'll use flotation equipment for buoyancy and water resistance. Participants should be comfortable in deep water."
You may find a similar class in your area. The class lasts for 45 minutes and entails jogging, sidestroke, abdominal stretches, otter rolls, and weight lifting. It's an amazing non-impact work out.

Ten tips I learned from hydrofit class:
  1. There may be two classes going on at one time at either end of the pool. 
  2. Choose which one to join. 
  3. Shallow end classes have more impact on your joints. 
  4. Deep water classes are non-impact.
  5. In either you can work at your own speed and level.
  6. Before getting in the pool find the instructor let him/her know you're pregnant.
  7. Secure your flotation belt above your bump.
  8. Grab two hand weights and set them on the edge of the pool.
  9. Bring a water bottle and keep it by the side of the pool.
  10. The class moves in a circle; try not to bump into people.
  11. Talking in class is totally okay!
Remember that moderate exercise is important during pregnancy it can help with your over health maintenance, labor, and beyond. Talk to friends with babies, mommas-to-be, your doc or midwife, and find what works for you. I love water aerobics so far and would say give it a try!

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