Benefits of exercising during pregnancy

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By Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich, Certified Nurse Midwife

 

As a baby grows throughout a pregnancy, it’s beneficial for both mom and baby to find the optimal fetal position. This means that your baby is lined up correctly in your pelvis to promote an easier and more efficient birth. In order to move the baby, we need to move the mother. To achieve optimal fetal positioning, the mother needs to actively stretch and exercise during the prenatal timeframe and continue this into her labor and birth process.

Small group of early 30's pregnant women doing Pilates.They are sitting in a row,leaning over one leg with one elbow on the floor.Other arm is stretched over head and eyes are closed. The woman in focus is wearing blue sweat pant and red sleeveless tank top.

Exercise during pregnancy can include low-impact exercises like stretching, yoga, aerobics, walking and swimming. Partaking in these exercises for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. It can also help prevent gestational diabetes; increase your energy; improve your mood and posture; and promote muscle tone, strength and endurance.

 

How to avoid injury

During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called relaxin, which can cause the ligaments that support your joints to relax. This can put your joints at an increased risk of injury. Your center of gravity also shifts during pregnancy due to the extra weight gain, placing more stress on your joints and muscles. You may be more likely to lose your balance.

Your need for oxygen also increases when you are pregnant. As your belly grows, you can become short of breath, which can affect your ability to do strenuous exercise.

To decrease your risk of injury, avoid high-impact exercises, and make sure that you are doing exercises that are safe for pregnant women. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to avoid dehydration. If you feel dizzy or fatigued, which are signs of dehydration, sit down and drink cool water.Pregnant woman exercising by walking and carrying a bottle of water.

Avoid standing or lying flat on your back for prolonged periods of time. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. Both of these positions can decrease the amount of blood returning to your heart and may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time.

Do not exercise if you experience any of the following conditions until you have checked with your provider:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Shortness of breath before starting exercise
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Regular, painful contractions of the uterus
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina

 

You have options

Here at Tri-County Health Care, we offer two great low-impact exercise programs that are safe for pregnant mothers at no cost to you: Prenatal Yoga and Tri Aquatics Moms Course. I would highly recommend both classes to assist you with fetal positioning.

exercising pregnant moms in a warm water therapy pool.Prenatal Yoga is a weekly class at TCHC designed to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing your strength and flexibility. Tri Aquatics Moms Course is a quarterly class that educates expecting mothers on fitness including low-impact aerobic exercise with stretching, strengthening and range of motion activities for the entire body. Exercises are done in a warm water pool which helps to provide a reduction of pain associated with the later stages of pregnancy for expecting moms.

We also have a great rehabilitation department that can assist you with learning exercises that are safe for pregnant women and that can alleviate the discomforts of pregnancy. Click here to learn more about Tri Rehab Services.

To sign up for Prenatal Yoga or Tri Aquatics Moms Course, click here.

For more information about Midwifery Services, click here.

 

Dawn with her family posing for a family photo. About the Author: Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich is board certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and takes a special interest in integrative medicine and water birth. She became a certified nurse midwife to empower women and to make the journey of pregnancy to birth a joyous event for the family. She and her husband have three daughters and one son. They also have a bunny, two border collies, three horses and a pony.


Finding the Right Obstetrics Provider to Deliver Our Baby

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By: Lonna Dille, Licensed Social Worker – Medical Social Services

Finding a medical provider was never really a difficult task, but I found that choosing an OB provider was daunting! I had previously been receiving care at another facility, but when I started working at Tri-County Health Care in September, 2014, I knew I wanted to receive my OB care at Tri-County. The nurses and doctors here made that decision very easy for me! Yet, after working with all the wonderful doctors, how on earth do I decide on just one?! I knew all of the providers had great qualities, but I had to decide who was the best match for me, my personality, my family and whose style I thought would best motivate and encourage me. I knew I needed someone down-to-earth, kind, but who was also going to be straightforward. I chose Laura DuChene, MD.

My husband and I were very excited to start a family, but it was a roller coaster of emotions because we miscarried our first child. Even though we were very excited to try again I was nervous about the possibility of miscarrying again. However, when we found out we were expecting we were ecstatic!! We told our families at Christmas (a memory I very much cherish) and asked them to support us in our new adventure, but also asked that they not share the news until we were “safe to tell”. We did this knowing that if we were to miscarry again, we would have the support of our families rather than feel isolated and alone. We didn’t tell our friends, extended relatives, etc. until I was about 17 weeks along in my pregnancy.

I will admit that my anxieties about miscarriage got the best of me. Poor Dr. DuChene! I am certain my questions and concerns were incessant, but she didn’t mind once. When I was working one day, I actually fainted on the inpatient floor and the nurses brought me to her and she made room in her schedule immediately for me. I could’ve seen another medical provider in the emergency department but she made it a priority to see me! Another thing I loved about Dr. Duchene was her advice. It wasn’t just clinical advice, it was things like letting me know that Target had great maternity clothes and the comfiest maternity jeans! She is a mother of three, so she shared some great tips with me! She was also amazing through labor. I had no idea what I was doing (like any first time mom). Of course I got advice from friends and family who tried to explain what labor was going to be like, but its pretty hard to remember in the craziness! Her instruction was always helpful and well-articulated. She was so encouraging, and I remember she called me a “champ” during labor and I just remember thinking yes, I CAN DO THIS!

Baby Dille with hat from DuChene

Easton shows off his fire department hat knit specially for him by Dr. DuChene.

My husband and I are both firefighters and EMT’s for our local fire department, in Motley. He tried to come to as many appointments as he was able. The couple of times that he came with she made sure to include him in the appointment. In our conversations we spoke of our work with the fire department. We didn’t know the gender of the baby, but we had a firefighter onesie to take our baby home from the hospital. The day after I delivered Easton, Dr. DuChene came to do her rounding and she hand delivered us a FD (fire department) hat that she had personally knit for him. My husband and I were so touched! Not only did she take the time to knit our precious baby a hat, but she remembered that we were fire fighters and that we had decorated his nursery in a fire department theme!

Once we were home, the home visit from the TCHC nurse was a godsend! She was so helpful and supportive! Seriously, the nursing staff at TCHC is so caring and compassionate. They went above and beyond to care for Easton, my husband and I!

At the end of the day you need to be happy with the provider you choose. We have great providers to choose from at Tri-County Health Care, as I and many other will vouch for! My husband and I did not care what gender our baby would be, we just prayed that we had a healthy, full term baby. When Dr. DuChene delivered us a healthy, baby boy, it was the biggest blessing to us! We are so in love with our precious baby boy, and we are so thankful for the amazing we care we received from Dr. Duchene and the nursing staff at Tri-County.

About the Author:IMG_0400_zpsy9lgpmx2
Lonna Dille has been a Medical Social Worker at TCHC since September 2014, providing services to inpatient, clinic, and the emergency department at
Tri-County Health Care. Lonna and her husband Nick have been married four years and now have their son Easton, who is over three months old. Lonna enjoys hunting and fishing with her husband and family, good coffee and shopping. Her new favorite down time is cuddling with her son and husband while watching a good movie.