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Pregnancy and Exercise - Baby Shower 101
Written by Gigi Fernandez (Olympian) from

Let's face it, unless you have an amazing pregnancy and are able to exercise until the day before you deliver, chances are that after you deliver you will have to lose weight to achieve your pre-pregnancy weight. In my case, I had almost 40 pounds to lose after giving birth to my twins. So, the question is, what can you do during your pregnancy to avoid having to lose 40+ pounds after you give birth? And next, how are you going to lose that last 15 pounds?

Here are some tips from an athlete (who once trained at an elite level!) and her physician on what you can do while pregnant to maintain a positive gain weight and suggestions for losing those last annoying extra pounds.

Benefits of exercise - According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are some of the benefits of exercise:

1. Improves your mood
2. Combats chronic diseases
3. Helps maintain weight
4. Boost energy level
5. Promotes better sleep
6. Can put the spark back into your sex life
7. Exercise can be - gasp - fun!

Benefits of exercising while pregnant - According to Dr. Penny Dana, my OB & Gyn with Physician Associates of Florida, the following are some additional benefits of exercising while pregnant:

1. Helps prevent and treat gestational diabetics
2. Improve stamina during labor and delivery

Dr. Dana Recommends:

1. Duration - 30 minutes of exercise a day
2. Intensity - Maintain a pace that allows you to talk thru exercise. If you can't comfortably talk while exercising your heart is too high.

Warning for Expectant Moms

1. Women who are at high risk during pregnancy should talk to their physician before beginning an exercise program

2. Since hormones cause joints to become more mobile and flexible, it's important to avoid high impact motions,
which can cause injury to the joints. It is important to stretch and start  slow into an exercise routine.

3. Be aware that balance shifts with one's center of gravity during pregnancy; therefore, additional stress may be put
on different joints while exercising. Additional care has to be taken with the new areas that are impacted.

4. After the second trimester, choose exercises that are not done while lying flat on your back.
Doing so may compress the inferior vena cava which could impede the blood flow to the brain.

Assuming you have been cleared by your doctor, you should be able to maintain your normal daily or weekly exercise throughout your pregnancy.

Post Delivery Exercise Suggestions

Walk, Walk, Walk - There is no excuse for not being able to walk. If you have two healthy legs, get out and walk. If it's cold, bundle up. If it's hot, go early. This was my mantra after my babies were born, "walk, walk, and walk"! Sleeping babies are ecstasy to a new a mom. Put your sleeping beauty in a good stroller, one that reclines as close to horizontal as possible and walk, walk, walk!

Exercise with your toddler - Once your baby is able to hold their head up, there are many exercise you can do with your baby, using him or her as a "prop" which will foster togetherness with your child and bring plenty joy and laugher into your routine. For a list of examples, visit our website at

"Mommy and Me" active classes - Little Gym and My Gym are two companies that offer active "mommy and me" classes. They are available in most states and offer "classes" for children as early as 6 weeks old. I participated in them and found that I got as good as a "workout" as my twins did and it was a lot of fun.

Biking, Spinning etc. - I have always loved biking. When my twins where at an age where they started playing "alone", I brought the stationary bike into the play room. They could play while being observed and I could get in my workout at the same time. I also recommend spinning, if you can find a gym with day dare, or biking while pulling a bike trailer that attaches to the back of the bike - the favorite activity in my household!

Losing pregnancy weight takes time, patience and commitment. Most women, like me, take about 6 months to 2 years to achieve pre-pregnancy weight. It's important to be patient, let the body recover from the difficult experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and focus on what is really important, raising your bundle of joy!

Baby Shower 101 Disclaimer: All information given on this website is not a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician, primary care provider or trained health professional. Always consult with your pediatrician or health care professional.

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