Thinking of having a baby? One very important aspect of your preconception fitness plan should be to include regular exercise starting three months prior to when you plan to conceive. If you already take regular exercise (good for you!) you may decide to change your routine a little. Remember that your level of fitness before you become pregnant determines the level of activity you can safely undertake during pregnancy.
Before you become pregnant, you want to achieve a healthy weight. Exercise can help you get to that goal in a safe manner. Your weight before conception determines your risk for many complications of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage, and complications of delivery.
Your preconception fitness routine should include aerobics, strength training, and exercises for greater flexibility. All of these exercises are good ways to prepare your body for the rigors of pregnancy.
Forms of aerobic exercise, such as swimming, cycling, jogging, and even walking are good for the heart and can be done 3-4 times a week. Aerobics help move oxygen and nutrition to your eggs but also help you sleep better and add to your feeling of emotional well-being. If you continue this form of exercise into pregnancy, you’ll find it helps you keep from gaining too much weight while lessening the impact of pregnancy symptoms like constipation and backache.
Strength training uses resistance or weights and should be done every day. This type of exercise helps you increase lean body mass while building the strength of your upper and lower back, abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, and lower body. These are the muscles that are most stressed during gestation.
While you’re at it, work in some Kegel exercises which serve to maintain the integrity of your pelvic floor muscles, making delivery and postpartum recovery easier on mom. Besides, Kegel exercises will help you avoid the development of urinary stress incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine that sometimes comes with pregnancy.
Balance out your strengthening exercises with those aimed at increasing your flexibility. Yoga and stretching can both serve to lessen your risk for injury to tendons and muscles during exercise. They also help to calm you and release stress.
Here are some tips on how to begin your preconception exercise program: