Mommy Fittest: Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy? Try online prenatal workouts for flexibility and convenience

If you’re looking for some easy ways to exercise during pregnancy, the answer may be as close as your laptop. From pre-natal yoga to baby-safe cardiovascular workouts, mom-to-be exercise programs are popping up everywhere. If you’d rather set your own program than work out with a crowd, free pregnancy fitness workout videos are available across the internet, and many feature health and nutrition tips between each pregnancy exercise. Don’t know where to start? Check out these three popular workout ideas and get started on a pregnancy fitness routine.

Neonatal Warrior

Yoga is one of the most popular exercises for pregnant moms-to-be because it reduces stress, calms your body and helps you get fit while gaining energy. Many pregnancy advice websites give step-by-step drawings of pregnancy yoga exercises, or you can buy mom-to-be yoga videos that are specialized for your current yoga level, such as beginner, intermediate or advanced. If money is an issue, check out the streaming video option by searching the words “pregnancy yoga” in Google’s “videos” search engine. Choosing to streaming videos instead of buying them will help clear up space on your DVD rack, which you may need later for the baby’s favorites.

Make a Big Splash

The safest sport for pregnant moms is swimming or water aerobics, and no wonder: swimming is the only exercise that works out every muscle in the body without physical impact or strain. Check your local community pages (or search online) for a listing of mommy-to-be water aerobics classes or open swim times in your area. If you like swimming outdoors and live in a warm climate, try swimming laps or taking a class outdoors. The extra sun will give you even more of a glow and the vitamin D will help with pregnancy-related stress and depression. Even more helpful, a fun water aerobics class will help you meet other pregnant moms in your area, which you can add to the ranks of your support system.

Non-Impact Sports

Any sport with low impact is recommended for pregnant moms-to-be. Traditional low-impact sports include brisk walking or hiking, stationary bicycling or light aerobics (if taught by a certified instructor). Sports such as jogging, tennis and racquetball are also safe in moderation, but it’s a good idea to talk to you OB/GYN before stocking up on sports equipment. As long as you are avoiding some of the more strenuous sports, a good team sport will help you alleviate stress, make new friends and feel stronger than ever. A few things to avoid: any activity that makes you hold your breath; sports that involve falling, such as horseback riding or skiing; exercising in a hot or humid climate; waist twists while standing; and above all, any sport that involves heavy physical contact, like softball, basketball or volleyball.

Whether you choose to join a class or try it alone, exercise during pregnancy will not only help your own stress levels, but your baby’s development. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your exercise routine, and always remember to keep the impact to a minimum.


Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy: Avoidance and Prevention

Pregnancy often brings hemorrhoids, but they usually resolve after birth with simple management

Irritating but manageable, hemorrhoids during pregnancy are a natural occurrence for most moms-to-be in the third trimester, during labor hours or in the postpartum weeks. Many women experience hemorrhoids for the first time while pregnant, which can add to an already stressful situation for first-time moms. Fortunately, hemorrhoids that occurred during the pregnancy will go away on their own after the child is born, as long as you avoid constipation. In the meantime, there are easy-to-manage tips on avoiding (or not exacerbating existing) pregnancy hemorrhoids, and some are as easy as changing your daily routine.

Fiber Forward

One of the easiest ways to avoid hemorrhoids altogether is to limit constipation, which is one of the primary causes of the affliction. As a pregnant woman, you are more likely to be constipated because of the added strain on your pelvis, and the force on the blood vessels during a constipated bowel movement causes hemorrhoids to form. To avoid a constipated episode, try eating as much fiber as you can—such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—or add a fiber supplement to your diet. Check with your OB/GYN about how much you should add to your diet, and follow the directions. Plenty of water in your diet—8 to 10 glasses a day–will also help you avoid constipation while staying hydrated, an important part of any pregnancy. Water will also keep you on your feet as you visit the bathroom more often, which will help the constipation process.

30 Minutes A Day – Worth Every Minute

There are a million reasons to exercise while pregnant–from stress reduction to muscle relief–but avoiding hemorrhoids may be the most important for a woman who fears pregnancy
hemorrhoids. Studies show that any amount of light, low-impact activity—even walking for 30 minutes a day—will help alleviate constipation while promoting blood flow, which can help prevent a hemorrhoid outbreak.

Don’t Stay Put

If you work in a job environment that involves a lot of sitting or standing, try to move around as often as you can. Hemorrhoids are often found in women who stay in place for long periods of time. Moving around once an hour (or more) will promote blood flow and help alleviate your chances of developing hemorrhoids. You may also want to watch TV or listen to music on your side, instead of your back, which will increase your blood flow, lessen pressure and keep you comfortable.

Other Helpful Hints

If you’re experiencing constipation but have not developed hemorrhoids yet, ask your doctor about a stool softener. It’s a last resort, but it will help you avoid hemorrhoids in the long run and is a cost-effective solution. Another surprising tip is to try Kegel exercises, which promote blood flow and therefore, prevent hemorrhoids.

During pregnancy, treating hemorrhoids involves waiting out the worst and trying to avoid future outbreaks. If you already have developed hemorrhoids during pregnancy, talk to your OB/GYN about a treatment plan, which will help with any existing soreness, as well as frustration.