Many pregnant women choose to participate regularly in some type of fitness program. The training of the pregnant client presents a unique challenge, as it not only involves the health and safety of the woman, but her baby as well. Fitness trainers must become familiar with the physiological needs of the pregnant woman in order to properly design a healthy fitness program for her.
It is common for expectant women to experience fatigue and nausea during the first trimester, therefore alterations in the program have to be made periodically. Some of the other discomforts that also may occur are back pain and/or sciatica (pain radiating down the leg stemming from the sciatic nerve). These types of symptoms are felt usually in the second and third trimester.
Physiological changes in pregnancy affect nearly every system of the body: musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiorespiratory and metabolic systems.
It is accepted that exercise is beneficial for the healthy pregnant woman. There has been substantial research on the effects of exercise during pregnancy. This research has shown that women who actively engage in exercise have a more comfortable pregnancy and a shorter labor. Women who exercise regularly, prior to and during the first and second trimester, feel better in the third trimester and have less exertion during labor.

Another very important issue for the pregnant woman to remember is weight gain during her approximate 40 week gestational period. You often hear pregnant women say things like “I am eating for two now”. She need only add 10% more calories than normal or eat for 1.1 instead of eating for 2. Eating for two is usually why post pregnancy baby weight is so difficult to lose.
Exercise can still be a fun part of your everyday life.  There are simple ways to get 30 minutes a day of activity.  It does not have to be a solid 30 minutes of activity, you can break it down to three 10 minute sessions.  Daily walks are a good start if you decide to start an exercise program after becoming pregnant.  Always check with your obstetrician before starting any exercise program.  If your doctor feels you are a good candidate for exercise during your pregnancy, then contact a fitness trainer that works with pre/post natal fitness so that a safe and effective exercise program can be designed for you.  When done correctly, exercise is a wonderful benefit for both mother and baby.

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