Exercise makes it easier to rebound after pregnancy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Frances Kriss
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
When I first found out I was pregnant, the last thing I thought about was keeping my figure-- there were other more important things running through my mind.

However, women should not stop working out just because they are pregnant. Prenatal fitness is essential to having a healthy pregnancy as well as a speedy return to physical conditioning after giving birth.

Especially with the new Air Force fitness standards in effect, it's important to be able to bounce back into shape after a pregnancy and remaining fit to fight.

Before starting a work-out plan, women should consult their doctor on what exercises are safe during pregnancy.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, if you have been following a regular exercise program prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to maintain that program to some degree throughout your pregnancy. Exercise does not increase your risk for miscarriage.

Below are several tips provided by the APA:
· If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself.

· Listen to your body. Your body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise you are performing.

· Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and body cannot get the oxygen supply they need.

· Wear comfortable exercise footwear that provides strong ankle and arch support.

· Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.

· Avoid exercise in extremely hot weather.

· Avoid rocky terrain or unstable ground when running or cycling. Your joints are more lax during pregnancy, and ankle sprains and other injuries may occur.

· Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy.

· Weight training should emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area. Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the lower back muscles.

· During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to your womb.

· Include relaxation and stretching before and after your exercise program.

· Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

There are many benefits of exercise during pregnancy. I have definitely experienced an increase in energy and it helps me sleep better. It also keeps me in a better mood and I feel better about myself.

In the long run, exercising and eating the right foods during pregnancy not only helps to keep you healthy, but it may benefit your military career as well.