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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Exercise for the Physically Fit

  • Listen to your body. Stop exercising when you become fatigued, and don't work out to exhaustion. Reduce the intensity of your exercise routine so you'll have more oxygen available.

  • Monitor your heart rate. During pregnancy, your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute or 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Since your heart beats faster during pregnancy, you won't have to exercise as vigorously to reach your target rate.

  • Avoid exercises and sports that could throw you off balance, especially during the third trimester. Keep in mind that even if you're normally quite graceful, that Relaxin, the pregnancy hormone that relaxes the pelvic joints in preparation for childbirth, also loosens all ligaments and joints making you more susceptible to sprains and potential falls. Avoid any exercise that risks even mild abdominal trauma.

  • Some exercises and sports are completely safe during pregnancy, while others like horseback riding, water skiing and kick-boxing are considered too dangerous. You will reap benefits just the same, so err on the side of caution and consider picking up one of the exercises listed below. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers these pregnancy recommendations:

    • Brisk walking, about a 12-15 minute mile, is great before, during, and after pregnancy. If you're new to the joys of exercise, this is a good starter. As your fitness level improves you'll probably want to pick up the pace.

    • Swimming is excellent because it uses both large muscle groups (arms and legs); it's cardiovascular and low impact; it tones the body; and the water supports your weight. No diving during the last months of your pregnancy!

    • Jogging is fine in moderation if you did so before you became pregnant. Since there is greater risk of falling down, you should do it cautiously.

    • A moderately paced game of tennis is acceptable if you played tennis before you became pregnant. A better choice would be a doubles match (not so much running). You may have problems with balance and sudden stops, so watch your step.

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