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Injury Prevention in Pregnancy - Part 2

Practical Methods
-- By Sara Hambidge, Physical Therapist

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, which make you more vulnerable to injury and pain. To learn about these changes, read "Injury Prevention in Pregnancy Part I: An Introduction".

You're always advised to check with your doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise program once pregnant. As stated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should not exercise if you have any of the following complications: pregnancy-induced hypertension, ruptured membranes, premature labor, persistent bleeding after 12 weeks, a cervix that dilates ahead of schedule (incompetent cervix), poor fetal growth, multiple birth pregnancy, placental disease, or a history of three or more miscarriages or premature labor.

If none of these apply to you, and your doctor gives you the "OK," then the ACOG suggests aiming for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate exercise each day, on most days of the week.

To prevent injuries that pregnant women are vulnerable to, be sure to include a proper warm up, a cool down with stretching, strength training, and cardiovascular work. Kegel and abdominal exercises will round out a program nicely. To understand each component's importance in injury prevention, we will discuss each individually.

The primary focus of a proper warm up is to prepare the body for exercise. You should first walk or bike to get your blood flowing, and then begin a light range of motion routine. Start with your head, and work toward your feet to gradually loosen all of the joints:

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Member Comments About this Article
"The exercises you can do during pregnancy depend on two things: your current health and how active you were before pregnancy. Before you begin (or continue) any exercise program, discuss it with your health-care provider. Together, the two of you can plan an exercise program that is consistent with your current level of fitness and sensitive to any current health conditions. This linked article can help you with pregnancy exercise basics: -- TONKA_14
"Hi I have just found out I am pregnant with baby number 5. The last four babies were C-section. Does this complicate things when it comes to exercising when pregnant? Thanks" -- JACQUELINE-76
If you don't know, there is nothing to worry about. I still do a regular (not prenatal) pilates class 4 days a week and eliptical/run 30-45 min a few days per week and I'm 14 weeks. I just cant do super spinal twists anymore - hurts like the dickens!! I have asthma and am a "fit and fat" kind of girl. No 110lbs here, but I'm in good shape and want to be healthy for an easy birth. Your body is smart. i have had to make some changes to the way i move in class (no severe twisting and no ..." -- MARANYNC
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About The Author
Sara Hambidge
Sara, a graduate of Saint Louis University's Physical Therapy Program, practices at a sports medicine clinic in Cincinnati. A certified prenatal and postpartum exercise instructor, Sara is also a proud mother of one.
Sara Hambidge


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