Fit to Deliver: An exercise program for you and your baby

So You're Pregnant!

Congratulations on your impending arrival. The excitement you feel will persist for the next nine months and beyond -- sprinkled with some nausea, a lot of anxiety, some back pain and best of all, hemorrhoids.

This "Fit To Deliver" exercise program has been designed to address some of the concerns a pregnant woman has while staying fit during pregnancy. It follows three principles:

  1. Prevention -- helping to reduce the chances of back pain, effects of poor posture and diastisis recti (the separation of the two halves of the rectus abdominus muscle in the middle of your belly that sometimes occurs during pregnancy).
  2. Preparation -- helping you to strengthen the muscles you will need in labor (the "baby pushers"). Upper body strength training will prepare you for caring for your newborn.
  3. Restoration -- if you exercise properly during pregnancy, you will have an easier time regaining your pre-pregnancy shape.

Before you start the program you must get clearance from your primary caregiver to exercise while pregnant.

What Happens to your body when you are pregnant?
It takes 85,000 calories to develop a baby from conception to delivery. Your body has to make dramatic changes to accomplish this. These changes will also alter your response to exercise.

Cardiovascular System

There is an increase in the amount of blood you have flowing through your veins, to about 1 1/2 times the normal: this occurs between the 6th and 24th week.

The extra blood flow will increase the heart rate and decrease the blood pressure. When you're pregnant and exercising, blood is diverted away from the working muscles to the placenta. This leads to earlier fatigue and decreased exercise tolerance. This is why you feel your heart racing while pregnant and you sometimes feel faint.

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