By peoplestaff225
Updated October 03, 2007 07:48 AM
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The winners of the giveaway are Amy B., Kami, Heather, Shannon and A Horman.

Click the extended post to read all the questions readers submitted, in order to enter, as well as the answers to the questions from Preggi Bellies.


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is the new Australian company producing an exercise program internationally for pregnant women. The Preggi Bellies – Training for Two DVD is available online at Preggi Bellies. Designed by physiotherapists in Australia to help women with correct exercise during pregnancy, the Preggi Bellies DVD and ball set ($AUS130 + p/h — $AUS45 for just the DVD) allows you to complete the class in the comfort of your own home. However, classes also provide women with a support system where they meet other women in the same situation as them and build lasting friendships. The highly trained instructors are also available to discuss with them any issues they may have. Celebrities who have received the Preggi Bellies DVD include Christina Aguilera and Marcia Cross.

Preggi Bellies has received international acclaim with not only regular moms and celebrities recommending the company but also doctors:

"Regular exercise in pregnancy promotes a feeling of wellbeing, enables women to manage their labour more effectively and encourages a speedy postnatal recovery. I recommend Preggi Bellies to my patients as they provide an ideal way to enjoy exercise during pregnancy." — Dr Tim Sturrock, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Brighton Melbourne.

Women with any questions can log onto the website and click on the country of their choice — should they not yet run in your country, please click on Australia to be put through to our international head office where they will be able to answer all questions.

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Exclusively for CBB readers: Together with Preggi Bellies we are giving away 5 DVD and exercise ball packs. Preggi Bellies are going to bust the myths or answer any questions you may also have relating to pregnancy and exercise. In order to be eligible to win, leave your question in a comment below, along with your real email address. An example of a myth buster and how questions will be answered is as follows:

MYTH: Women who exercise will have small babies.
FACT: Women who exercise have leaner babies with less body fat.
RESEARCH: A lot of hype in the media recently has made claims that women who exercise have smaller babies. Is a bigger baby is better if it only has more fat? In addition babies born of women who exercise do not differ in their organ size or bone lengths. Studies of the babies (born to women who exercised during their pregnancies) at 1 and five years of age showed at one year of age exercisers babies scored higher on standardised intelligence tests than children of mothers who did not exercise. Their mental and physical performance scored higher as well. At age five children of exercises were less fat and scored much higher on tests of general intelligence and oral language skills than the children born to non-exercisers. Further studies have shown that children born to exercising mothers are less likely to be obese.

Entries close Friday, 28th September at 11.59PM. Winners and answers will be published the following week.

A Horman: Is it true that women who exercise regularly will have an easier vaginal delivery and recovery?
The way in which a woman delivers is influenced by many things. The way in which her body is designed, genetics, which number pregnancy it is and her general well being and health. Women who exercise cope better with labour, they are less likely to need drugs and more likely to have an active labour. It is far easier to deliver vaginally if you are upright or able to squat and the stronger and fitter you are the easier it is to do so. There is no doubt that recovery post delivery is heavily influenced by a women’s fitness. Women who have done our program tell us regularly how much faster they recovered when compared to non exercising friends.

Paige W: Women who exercise regularly when pregnant have shorter labors?
There is some research that shows that women who exercise have a shorter second stage of labour (pushing stage). However labour is very individual and can last for 1hour up to 2 days. Of course fitter women cope better with the labour they are given.

Natalie: Women who exercise daily before becoming pregnant have a easier labor and delivery and all around healthy pregnancy?
Women who have exercised with us tell us constantly that their labours were so manageable thanks to our classes. We love to hear this but also know that it their ability to cope that is improved by exercise so that even a hard labour feels easier when you are fit and strong. Women who exercise do have healthier pregnancies- they gain less weight, suffer less back and pelvic pain, sleep better and eat better. They are happier, less likely to suffer depression and all round healthier.

Winkster: Is it true that exercising while pregnant isn’t safe?
No this is not true. It is perfectly safe to exercise if you are a breastfeeding mother provided as with nay women exercising you are well hydrated and do not exercise when you are ill. We have many breastfeeding mothers who do our program.

Leah Trabue: Is it true that pregnant women shouldn’t work their abs?
NO- this is definitely the myth that has stuck around the longest. Abdominal muscles need to be toned and strengthened like any other muscle and because they are so stretched and compromised in pregnancy we need to ensure they maintain their strength and tone. Strong abdominal muscles help to support your spine and pelvis and prevent the back and pelvic pain so common amongst women who do not exercise their abdominal muscles. The rectus muscle separates in pregnancy to allow for the growth of the baby- while this is normal failure to keep these muscles strong can lead to herniation post delivery.

Mary Schabort: What type of exercises should pregnant women stay away from?
Whilst it is the most recommended exercise we find that walking causes more backache and pelvic pain than any other form of exercise. Women who walk regularly in pregnancy are at an increased risk of pelvic pain. Running in pregnancy can put increased pressure on the pelvic floor which may mean continence issues once you have delivered. Scuba diving is also not recommended.

Marcia C: Women who exercise will go into pre-term labor…?
No- in fact research has shown that women who exercise are more likely to deliver on time than if they do not deliver.

Casie B:Are there any exercises that will help with loosening up the pelvis for an easier birth?
No- The pelvis is the main weight bearing structure of the body. In pregnancy relaxin (a hormone) is released to soften the joints to allow for delivery. This helps the pelvis to open up for delivery. There is no exercise that helps to loosen the pelvis and in fact given the nature of the joints involved further loosening would be extremely painful.

Rebecca: It’s harder for pregnant women to get a good workout because they tire too easily.
Pregnant women are generally tired. They are growing a new life and that takes a lot of energy. They also are carrying around a lot more weight for nine months. Having said that I am constantly amazed at how incredibly strong and fit the participants in our program are and at times we have are often reminding ourselves they are pregnant. Pregnant women can get a fantastic workout and this in terms help them to overcome any exhaustion. Always remember that the workout must be supervised by the right qualified professionals. Often many trainers are not well educated on pregnancy and tend to drastically reduce the level their pregnant women work at out of ignorance.

Ab: Exerciing while pregnant will lead to a faster postpartum recovery and return to pre-pregnancy body?
Yes- we see this all the time. Women who exercise when pregnant recover faster and lose their pregnancy weight quicker. This is because not only are they fitter when they enter pregnancy and are already carry8ng less excess weight- but they return to exercise a lot sooner than women who have spent nine months doing nothing.

Dina: Women who excercise can hurt the baby’s oxygen supply…?
During exercise oxygen is diverted from the baby to the mother so that she can exercise, research has shown that whilst this happens the quality of the oxygen still being delivered to the baby is far superior and there are no ill effects at all.

Bethie: Can a woman that exercised VERY little before pregnancy exercise while pregnant and continue to exercise while breastfeeding postpartum?
Yes- provided there are no medical reasons non exercisers may begin our program during pregnancy. The majority of women who exercise in pregnancy are doing so for the first time because they make the decision to begin a healthier life habit now that they are pregnant. Always exercise with a program that is run by correctly qualified trainers who know how to ease you into a new program.

Danielle: Pilates is a safe exercise while pregnant?
Yes provided the trainer is suitably qualified not only in Pilates but in pregnancy as well. Just having any qualification is not good enough unless you are pregnancy trained as well.

Amy B: How much weight (free weights)is safe to lift and for how long?
This is very specific to each individual. If you are using weights prior to falling pregnant you can continue and modify as you get bigger. If you are using weights for the first time we usually begin with light weights and increase as women get stronger. Weights can be used throughout pregnancy provided there is no medical reason for stopping.

Tricia: Can exercising while pregnant help aid in a faster recovery after a c-section?
Yes- women in our program have found that their recovery post ceaser is significantly faster than non exercising women. Often returning very quickly back to the program to get back into shape.

Tracy: At what point in your preganancy should you stop doing excercises on your back or abdominal excercises?
Abdominal exercises can be safely done throughout your whole pregnancy. Our program does not do abdominal exercises lying on backs because they are not effective and very uncomfortable. Lying on your back usually becomes uncomfortable around 15-20 weeks and for some women they can continue a bit longer.

Isabel: Is it true that being too active during pregnancy can increase the chance of birth defects?
NO- this is not at all true.Is it also true that if you are already in shape before the pregnancy…afterwards you should be able to bounce back to your normal weight easier? Yes this one is true provided you continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy.

Angela: Is it safe for pregnant women to do abdominal specific exercises (such as crunches on an exercise ball) in the first trimester?
Yes and it is safe
in all trimesters too!

Angela: Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy?
Yes and NO. Obese women in our program often lose weight throughout their pregnancy. This is safe and healthy and well managed by their Doctors. Women who are very ill in the first trimester can also lose weight which returns once the morning sickness stops. In general women should gain weight in pregnancy and any weight loss other than the first two mentioned is not safe and should be reported to your doctor.

Brooke: Is it true that pregnant women should keep their heart rate below 140bpm while exercising?
No – this figure was removed from the guidelines in 1994! Heart rate is a poor indicator of safety when exercising and we prefer to use the talk test- or how do you feel. You should never exercise to the point of nausea, dizziness and exhaustion. However being out of breath and sweating is perfectly fine. Many women exercise at heart rates of 150-160 whilst others find 120 too high. This is very individual.

Teia: Do you have any tips on how much exercise is needed for a Mom to be, with a one-year old and another on the way, I just feel exhausted. Will exercise bring in more energy?
Exercise brings more energy and the recommended is 30 minutes daily. Sometimes this is not possible so three to four times a week 30-60 minutes is a good guideline. Many mums use our home DVD and get their little ones involved and others exercise at night when Dad is home. The sooner you start the better you will feel.

Misty Shearer: Exercising in the last trimester will send you into labor?
We wish! No unfortunately not but that has not stopped women from coming to our classes when they are passed due date to give it a go! As yet no success! You can safely exercise through to your due date without fear of going into labour provided there is no medical reason that prevents you from doing so.

Gina: Is it dangerous to begin an exercise program that you have not already been doing prior to pregnancy?
It depends on the program. I would not recommend you take up marathon running when you fall pregnant but if you were always a marathon runner then you can continue. Provided you are healthy beginning a well supervised program is perfectly safe.

Tamika Duley: Is it true that exercise will reduce water retention and swelling in hands and feets during pregnancy?
Yes- exercise helps the muscle pumps in the legs as well as blood flow which in turn helps to reduce swelling.

Charmayne: Are women more likely to overheat during exercise when pregnant?
No – in fact women when pregnant are far more efficient at cooling down than when they are not pregnant. This is for two reasons- firstly they have a lower set point for sweating which means pregnant women begin to sweat sooner during exercise than their non pregnant counterparts. Since sweating is the body’s cooling mechanism pregnant women are cooling themselves very efficiently. Secondly we carry more blood closer to the surface of the skin when pregnant which allows for radiation of heat off the body more efficiently. Also always remember to drink a lot and never to exercise with a temperature or when ill.

Gracie: How many extra calories do you need to eat if you exercise while pregnant?
About 300.

Samira Outle: Women who exercise during their entire pregnancy will have quicker labor/delivery?
There is some research that shows that women who exercise have a shorter second stage of labour (pushing stage). However labour is very individual and can last for 1hour up to 2 days. Of course fitter women cope better with the labour they are given.

Andrea: Women who exercise during their third trimester are more likely to have premature labour?
No- women who exercise are more likely to deliver on time.

Lorena: Is it true that walking makes you have an easier labor?
NO.

Perfectsadie: Exercise only exacerbates common pregnancy fatigue.
Definitely not but we hear this a lot from women who do not want to exercise. Exercise only make syou feel better- Just ask the 10 000 plus women who have done our program!

Ratna: Doing high-impact exercises such as kickboxing and running during the third trimester are fine as long as you’ve been doing the same routine throught the pregnancy.
Yes- many women can safely continue doing their normal exercise routines provided they are well supervised and do not have any medical issues. However a lot of these types of exercise do not accommodate women when they get bigger or develop a pregnancy ache or pain that requires modification.

Kelsa: I’ve been told to keep my heart rate below 130 to keep my baby safe. Is this true?
No this is not true. Heart rate as a safety guideline was removed from the ACOG guidelines in 1994.

Danielle Vandenberghe: How much exercise is too much when pregnant?
You need at least one rest day a week and any exercise that takes you to the point of nausea, dizziness and exhaustion is too much. This is very individual but if you are not gaining weight in your pregnancy you may be doing too much. A well trained professional will be able to design a program taioored to the individual that is neither too much nor not enough.

Anamcara: Should pregnant women avoid inversion poses in yoga (i.e. downward facing dog, etc.) like you should when you are menstruating?
I love yoga but I am not Yoga trained- I do know that there are very specific poses for pregnant women and you should chat to your Yogi about what you are able to do.

Ellie: How long is the workout?
One hour but you can choose to do either the toning or the cardio if you do not wish to do the whole workout.

Doreen: Does walking help ease labor pains?
NO.

Lauren: Isn’t it true that in the third trimester you should not exercise as much (aside from walking)?
No- we have found that women in their third trimester do not feel the need to change their routine and continue as they have previously. This is provided they are not ill and have no medical complications. We certainly do modify programs for women who get uncomfortable in the last few weeks as the baby has engaged.

Kami: Due to blood flow being diverted to working muscles, the baby will not receive adequate oxygen or nutrients when exercising?
No- the baby receives far better quality oxygen during exercise- the body is quite an amazing machine that way!

KM: Can you start a new excercise program while pregnant?
Yes. You should speak with your Doctor about what exercise you wish to do – try to avoid starting too late in your pregnancy. Most our women begin in their first trimester or are already exercising.

Kellyroo: Will working out after pregnancy negatively affect one’s ability to breastfeed?
No- you do need to drink a lot to keep your fluids up as you lose a lot of fluid feeding.

Cora: Does exercising in the first trimester and the rest of the preganacy help the uterus, since it is a muscle?
No- the uterus practices it’s own exercise – Braxton Hicks- contractions to get itself ready for labour.

Caryn: If you have previously engaged in an exercise routine, is it safe to continue the same routine up until the time you deliver provided there are no complications with the pregnancy?
Yes and provided you are under expert care.

Myrna: This may not be a "pregnancy" question but…after the baby is born and breastfeeding has been established (1-2 months) will exercising decrease milk supply if I don’t take in enough calories or drink enough fluids?
Yes- you n
eed to eat and drink correctly when feeding.

Mady Brennan: Vigorous exercise can harm your baby or even casue miscarriage?
Exercise has not been linked with miscarriage or problems in the unborn baby.

Sandy: Is it safe to take spinning classes during pregnancy?
Yes provided you are under the care of an expert trainer. The pressure of the saddle on the pelvis may cause some pelvic pain in pregnancy in which case you may need to stop.

Kristen: What heartrate is it safe to go up to while pregnant?
Heart rate is very individual and for many women 150-160 is fine as long as they feel fine and for others 120 feels better.

Jennifer Garnett: I’ve heard conflicting reports about the level of intensity that is best for excersising while pregnant…so, what are the best methods for staying fit throughout your pregnancy without over (or under!) doing it?
Of course I am going to say Preggi Bellies! It is an all round program incorporating all muscle groups as well as cardiovascular work.

Kristin: Is all abdominal exercise dangerous/potentially dangerous during pregnancy?
Abdominal exercises can be safely done throughout your whole pregnancy. They are not dangerous at all but many people still perpetuate this myth.

Luke Sky Walker’s Mommy: Women who exercise during pregnancy have a smaller risk of needing a c-section than women who don’t exercise.
Yes research has shown this.

Shannon: Is there a certain heartrate that pregnant women should stay under?
For each women it is important that they feel comfortable when exercising and not get exhausted, nauseas or dizzy. This may mean a heart rate of 140 is too high for some whilst it is too low for others.

LC: Pregnancy is not a good time to start an exercise program if you did not previously exercise regularly before becoming pregnant.
You can begin a new program when pregnant.

Anna: Can holding in your lower abs in the later stages of pregnancy be considered an effective way to strengthen the abs, and can it lead to more effective pushing during delivery?
No- you need more effective structured exercises in pregnancy and just tightening you tummy in the last few months is not effective.

Bodybuilders: Regular exercise in pregnancy promotes a feeling of wellbeing, enables women to manage their labour more effectively and encourages a speedy postnatal recovery. I just fall in love with this DVD.
Yes it does and we love the DVD too!

Jeannine D: Is it true that you should not lift weights above your head whie pregnant?
No- you can certainly lift weights above your head.

Gina Paluch: Is it true that if you exercise a lot during pregnancy it will be a easier birth experience?
Yes- whilst you cannot change how long you labour for the stronger and fitter you are the easier you will find your birth experience. Many women have told us just that!

Malinda: Is getting in a good 30 minute walk everyday enough exercise to really make a difference? No- walking is not that effective in terms of cardio work and also does not strengthen the upper body or abdominals at all. Even your legs will not get that much of a workout. You need to add weights, abdominal exercises, and leg strengthening exercises to your walking.

Heather: Is it true that breastfeeding burns as many calories as exercising?
No- Research has shown that while breastfeeding burns calories women who feed eat more than women who do not feed so they do not lose weight just by feeding. Exercise has far more benefit than just calorie burning.

Chiyah: If you have previously exercised vigorously but weren’t eercising very much when you became pregnant, is it ok to begin vigourous exercise while pregnant?
NO you need to start as if you were a beginner and gradually increase as per your trainer.