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Prenatal Low-Impact Aerobics

Many health clubs and hospitals offer exercise classes specially designed for pregnant women and brand-new moms, including low-impact aerobics. Some classes stick to aerobic workouts; others include strength training, even yoga. Naturally, the exercises are adapted to the limitations of a pregnant body — including the loss of balance, shifting center of gravity, increased joint laxity (looseness), and reduced stamina.

Participants love these classes because the atmosphere is so much more supportive than it tends to be in regular classes. You don’t find a maniacal drill-sergeant instructor yelling, “Okay, today’s leg-lift-’til-you-drop day.” And you don’t find class members in two-piece leotards showing off their sculpted abs.

Be sure to get your doctor’s permission before embarking on a prenatal exercise program. Some high-risk conditions do rule out exercise during pregnancy.

Certain activities just don’t mix with pregnancy, and that list usually includes the following:

  • Scuba diving, due to the intense underwater pressure, which is harmful to your baby.

  • Water-skiing, during which you may fall. In addition, if less-than-clean lake or ocean water enters your vagina, you risk getting an infection.

  • Contact sports, like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and hockey introduce a major risk of falls and contact injuries.

  • Downhill skiing, figure skating, horseback riding, and mountain biking, all because of the risk of falling.

  • Cross-country skiing, rowing, and (sometimes) running, because these can be very difficult activities that can overtax your body.

Check with your healthcare provider for the final word.

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