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Exercise is important during pregnancy to condition and prepare the body for the hard work of labor. We often say that labor is like running a marathon so the more endurance you have, the better. It is recommended that pregnant women do 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. If you have always been a regular exerciser you can usually do what you normally do, with the exception of lifting heavy weights. It is very important that you always listen to your body. As your baby grows and your belly gets larger you will obviously need to make adjustments. As a general rule: if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you do not already have a regular exercise routine, allow your pregnancy to inspire you to start! The best forms of exercise for pregnancy for those that did not exercise prior to are walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and low impact aerobics. Dancing is also a good and fun form of exercise. For information on bellydancing in pregnancy go to my Bellydance for Birthing page.
Some important things to consider while exercising are heat and hydration. Especially here in South Florida it is easy to overheat and get dehydrated. If any of the following warning signs occur while you are exercising stop immediately, drink some water, and call your midwife if they don’t resolve: chest pain, severe shortness of breath, abdominal pain, or palpitations.