Druxman offers the following general tips for exercising while pregnant:
- If it feels too hard, it probably is. Work out at a level where you may feel a little out of breath, but not exhausted.
- Be consistent. Working out throughout pregnancy is great; however, working out sporadically is rough on your body and is not a good idea for Mom or Baby.
- Drink plenty of water and stay cool. It's important to remain hydrated and not overheat when exercising.
"Walking with your first child in the stroller is a great way to get exercise," says Druxman, who suggests incorporating exercises such as squats and lunges to get a total-body workout.
Lisa Johnson, age 37 and a mother of a three-year-old, is a master Pilates instructor with more than seven years of experience. She recommends getting your abs back in shape before having a second child.
Johnson notes that a woman's abdominals can stretch as much as 300 percent during pregnancy. "It takes a while for your abs to figure out where they're supposed to go, never mind get them taut again."
It's best if you can begin ab-strengthening exercises right away. Strong abs will help you carry the load better for most of the pregnancy, and you'll lose strength in the third trimester as that stretching really starts to kick in, Johnson explains, adding, "A woman will want to improve the strength in her upper back and make sure those abs are strong to help protect the lower back."
Knee troubles are not unheard of for expecting women either. "The relaxin hormone that is released during pregnancy can cause your knees to feel loose after pregnancy, and they might not feel as solid as they once were," says Johnson. You undoubtedly were bending and lifting a lot more after your first baby. Can your knees take that same stress with the additional 25 to 35 pounds that you'll be gaining during her next pregnancy?
You can help your knees and legs handle the increased load by working out consistently with a program such as Pilates. If you can't make it to the gym, remember that walking is a perfect way to get in shape and stay fit during pregnancy.
How's Your Dental Health?
You may not think about your dental health when contemplating conception, but a visit to the dentist is needed to make sure the gums are in shape for baby number two.
Dr. Robert Gregg, DDS, who has treated hundreds of patients with gum disease, recommends that women trying to conceive see their dentists and receive treatment to be a healthy as possible once they become pregnant.