Celebrity personal trainer Michael George says that his A-list clients reap many benefits by training through their pregnancies. He's helped actresses such as Reese Witherspoon, Selma Ward and Meg Ryan get into stellar condition. Most recently, he trained Leilani Sarelle, star of the movie "Basic Instinct" and hit television programs such as "The Unit," through her pregnancy.
- Less weight gain.
- Fewer problems such as nausea or cravings.
- Reduced effects such as swollen ankles or back pain.
- Easier deliveries.
- Quicker recovery of their former bodies.
While physicians and others in the maternity care arena say that exercise is important, research by the president of the American College of Sports Medicine, James Pivarnik, and colleagues indicates that nearly half the medical doctors surveyed aren't sure what to tell their pregnant patients about exercise. The study, published in the February 2010 Journal of Women's Health, revealed that, despite updated guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some docs have antiquated beliefs. Many still believe pregnant women shouldn't push their heart rates beyond 140 beats per minute - a guideline that hasn't been used since 1985.
Before you start on an exercise program, ACOG stresses that you need to discuss with your physician your special needs as well as those pregnancy contributes. Some factors to consider:
- Balance - As the fetus grows, the center of gravity of a woman's body shifts, which can lead to strained muscles, back aches and even falls.
- Heart Rate - The extra weight makes the body work harder. Exercise moderately so you don't get fatigued or out of breath.
- Joints - The ligaments actually loosen so avoid jumping or high-impact motions.
George offers the number one reason to workout, "You can see they feel better about themselves as pregnant women. They don't feel like a tub of lard, they feel like strong, sexy women."