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Tag Archives: Maternity Exercise

  • Exercise During Pregnacy to Make your Baby Smart!

    As Holiday Season approaches many of us find ourselves munching on more cookies, eating more pie and indulging in bigger meals. It’s easy to do as the weather is cooler and you may be surrounded by friends and family and lots of yummy goodies. Although pregnancy is not a time to diet, it is perfectly ok and even recommended to exercise, especially when you need to offset some extra helpings of stuffing or pumpkin pie.

    Not only is exercise good for maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight, it’s also good for your brain, nerves and self-esteem. More recently researchers are uncovering new benefits of exercise to the developing fetus. Two studies presented a few weeks ago at the Society of Neuroscience suggest that exercise during pregnancy gives unborn children a neurological advantage with “more mature and effective brain patterns.” Dave Ellemberg, a neuroscientists at the University of Montreal says active moms can give their kids “a kickstart even before they are born.” He continues, “What we found is that there’s this amazing transfer from what the mother does onto her child.”

    What better motivation is there to exercise since not only are you improving your own body and mind during pregnancy but that of your unborn child’s at the same time. Another recent study performed at Dartmouth University found similar results with the potential for exercise to leave “long-lasting effects on the behavior and cognitive function of the offspring.”

    Even as little as thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can help with weight gain, mood and prepare mothers for labor, says Laura Riley, Director of labor and delivery and obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital. She continues, that pregnant women who exercise are more mobile throughout their pregnancy and report less aches and pains during pregnancy.

    How much you exercise and the type of exercise you choose to do should depend on your fitness level. In general it is recommended that women should continue the exercise they already do and just adjust the level to their weight and abilities as the pregnancy progresses. Even just walking will do wonders for your body and your baby.

    There are obvious safety precautions such as staying clear of contact sports or those that require advanced coordination, such as biking (maybe consider a stationary bike). Also steer clear of exercise that involves flat on the back positions that can cause back strain or cut off the blood flow. Also you should not do abdominal work since those muscles are stretched to support your baby.

    Most importantly stay in tune with your body and take more frequent breaks. Also, be sure to hydrate more often as your body will need more liquids when you are pregnant. Finally be sure to be in close communication with your doctor on all exercise you pursue to make sure it is recommended and safe.

  • Maternity Swimwear Choices This Summer

    We're now in the middle of summer and if you haven't been able to choose that perfect suit then maybe we can help you out. First, you need to think about what you are using the maternity swimwear for whether it is fashion, hide your belly, showing off your belly or athletic activity like lap swimming.

    For fashion, you can trying one of the exciting suits from Maternal America such as the Jenni Tankini. It's an incredibly unique pattern with orange and sky blue tones. Also from MA is the Missoni Halter Tankini with the zigzag stripes that defines Missoni and makes the brand easily recognizable. From Prego is the Flower Power Strapless Mini which has black and white hibiscus flowers flowing in a large contrasting pattern.

    The ultimate maternity bathing suit for hiding your belly is the Prego Maternity Halter Baby Doll. This maternity swimsuit ties around the neck and has a longer skirt that goes down below the bottoms. This ensures that your belly will never peek out! While you might not think that a strapless mini is a good way to hide your belly since it shows off the shoulders, it actually comes with a longer front. So, you can show a little skin but hide your belly while wearing something really sexy!

    The easiest way to show off your belly is to put on the maternity bikini. The maternity bikini is becoming even more popular after 4 time mother Tori Spelling as well as Kourtney Kardashian were seen sporting one. A great choice of maternity bikini is the Prego Bow Tie Bikini. The top has wider straps unlike the typical pre-pregnancy bikini and the bottoms have a wider band to expand and grow with you. If your mood is more along the pre-pregnacy type then a good option is the Japanese Weekend 3 PC Bikini w/ Sarong Set. This maternity bikini has double tie straps around the neck and ties in the back. Additionally, it comes with a tie sarong which goes around the waist.

    Lastly, if you are looking for a maternity swimsuit to get some exercise in the best choice anywhere would be the Prego Maternity Empire Tank. This suit comes with wide tank style straps and a hook in the back. The elastic strap under the bust is strong enough to provide great support even for the bigger busted women. The Empire Tank comes in black, navy, jade as well as a new red flower pattern.

    There are many different types of maternity swimwear available at TummyStyle.com. We are sure you will find something that can suit your particular need. Just give us a call and we can help you out with fitting and style.

  • Kate Hudson and Ivanka Trump Post Partum Fashion

    With the recent rush of celebrity baby births, post pregnancy style has been on full display. Dressing one’s after baby body can seem a bit daunting, but there are so many cute and comfy options to choose from. Kate Hudson, who gave birth to second son Bing on July 9th, was spotted wearing a gorgeous floral sundress just a few weeks later. The flowing fabric allowed room for her post baby weight, while the wrap highlighted the smallest part of her body. We loved the happy floral print which represented her joyful attitude and also helped to camouflage the baby weight. We loved that she stayed true to her Bohemian chic style, while choosing something that was both comfortable and practical.

    Ivanka Trump, who gave birth to daughter Arabella on July 17, made her post-pregnancy debut one month later in a gorgeous navy blue wrap dress. The deep V-neck of the dress is an excellent choice as it elongates the body, which in turn creates a slimming look. We love the bold blue color choice, as well as the flowing fabric. Ivanka’s dress stayed true to her classic style, and truly represented her. For a similar look, Olian’s Kora V-Neck Maternity/Nursing Dress provides the same great shape and easy nursing access.

    Back in February, Miranda Kerr stepped out for the first time after giving birth a month earlier to baby Flynn. For her post-baby debut, Miranda chose a gorgeous patterned maxi-dress with a tailored boyfriend blazer. This is an excellent choice, as the maxi dress is comfortable and allows plenty of room while the structure of the blazer creates a finished and polished look. This is a perfect look for fall and the transition from hot to cooler weather.

    These are all great post-pregnancy looks as they provide comfort and camouflage post baby weight while providing structure and style!

  • Maternal America’s Asymmetric Ruffle Dress

    Another great dress for spring and summer is the Maternal America Asymeretric Ruffle Dress. The fabric has a cheerful floral pattern and light cotton-like feel. This dress features a faux one shoulder neckline design, with bra-friendly straps. The empire waist with elastic fitting below the bust is easy to wear for all stages of your pregnancy. Throw on a cardigan and wear this dress to a party or baby shower.

  • Why the health of pregnant women matters to us all

    By Annie Murphy Paul,author of "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives."

    "Pregnant Is the New Sexy," read the T-shirt a friend gave me when I was a few weeks away from my due date. With my swollen ankles and waddling walk, I wasn't so sure - but it's hard to deny that pregnancy has become rather chic. Glossy magazines flaunt actresses' and models' rounded, half-clad bellies on their covers. Inside they chronicle celebrities' pregnancies in breathless detail, from the first "bump" sighting to the second-trimester weight gain to the baby-gear shopping spree. And now comes the news that "What to Expect When You're Expecting" - the advice bible that has sold more than 14 million copies - will be made into a feature film.

    There's something wrong with this picture. Even as Americans fuel a rapidly growing pregnancy industry of designer maternity jeans and artsy pregnancy portraits, we're ignoring the real news about these nine months. An emerging science known as the developmental origins of health and disease - DOHaD for short - is revealing that the conditions we encounter in the womb can have a lifelong impact on our health and well-being, affecting everything from our appetite and metabolism to our susceptibility to disease to our intelligence and temperament.

    The more we learn about these effects, the clearer it becomes that investing in maternal health would return larger and longer-lasting dividends than almost any other comparable public health investment. But as a nation, we're heading in exactly the opposite direction, spending more and more of our limited resources on the later stages of life instead of where they can make the most difference: at the very beginning.

    Take obesity. Many anti-obesity initiatives concentrate on changing adults' behavior, trying to persuade us to eat less and exercise more. But research shows that these efforts have limited effectiveness. A recent analysis of U.S. obesity-prevention campaigns, conducted by Olaf Werder of the University of New Mexico, concluded that their "overall impact on obesity has been negligible."

    Even public health programs aimed at school-age children come too late: Almost a third of American children over age 2are already overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Clearly, the conditions that contribute to obesity must begin exerting their influence very early in children's lives - as early as their time in the womb.

    DOHaD research shows that the intrauterine environment of a woman who is significantly overweight when she conceives - or who puts on excessive weight during pregnancy - affects the developing fetus in ways that make it more likely to become overweight itself one day. Scientists are still figuring out exactly why this happens, but it appears that prenatal experience may alter the functioning of organs such as the heart and the pancreas, may shift the proportion of lean and fat body mass, and may influence the brain circuits that regulate appetite and metabolism.

    In a cleverly designed study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2009, researchers compared children born to the same mothers before and after they'd had successful anti-obesity surgery. Children born after their mothers' surgery weighed less at birth and were three times less likely to become severely obese than their older brothers and sisters. Weight-loss surgery isn't for everyone, of course. Still, what if before conceiving, overweight women were routinely counseled by their doctors about the effects of their weight on future offspring? And what if women who were gaining weight too rapidly in pregnancy were offered more help in controlling it?

    The results might look something like those found in studies of diabetes treatment during pregnancy. Research shows that the children of diabetic women are more likely than others to develop diabetes - in one recent study, seven times more likely. Like obesity, diabetes has a strong genetic component, but scientists are also beginning to focus on the effects of a diabetic intrauterine environment. For example, a long-running study of the Pima Indians of Arizona, who have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world, concluded that exposure to the disease while in the womb was responsible for about 40 percent of the diabetes cases studied.

    A pregnant woman's diabetes can also affect the odds that her child will become obese. In a study of almost 10,000 mother-child pairs, researchers from the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest found that women who developed diabetes during pregnancy and were not treated had children who were twice as likely to become obese as the children of women without that illness. Pregnant women whose diabetes was treated with insulin, however, had children with no additional risk of obesity. Simply by controlling their mothers' blood sugar during pregnancy, in other words, the expected doubling of these children's obesity risk was completely reversed.

    Even the mental health of a pregnant woman can have a long-term impact on her offspring. A 2008 study by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in California found that women with even mild symptoms of depression are 60 percent more likely to deliver early than other women; those who are severely depressed have double the risk of premature birth. The babies of depressed women are also more likely to have low birth weight, to be irritable and to have trouble sleeping.

    Of course, these complications may come about in part because many depressed women don't take good care of themselves: They may eat poorly, smoke or drink alcohol, or fail to get prenatal care. But depression itself may shift the biochemical balance in a woman's body in a fateful manner. For one thing, the stress hormone cortisol, which is often elevated in people with depression, may cross the placenta, directly affecting fetal development, and it may also affect a pregnant woman's blood vessels, reducing the oxygen and nutrients that reach the fetus.

    The case seems pretty clear: We should make a nationwide effort to ensure that every obstetrician checks every pregnant patient's mental state, along with her weight and blood pressure. Women who show signs of depression should be offered therapy or, in cases that warrant it, carefully administered antidepressant medication.

    Adult behavior can be difficult to change, as we know from the general ineffectiveness of anti-obesity campaigns. But pregnant women are a special case: They're usually highly motivated, they're typically in regular contact with health-care providers, and they have to keep up their efforts for only nine months. Pregnancy therefore offers a singular opportunity to improve lives for decades to come, via interventions that cost little compared with the enormous price tags for obesity, diabetes, low birth weight and premature delivery.

    So why isn't this critical window one of our top health-care priorities?

    Part of the reason may simply be our preference for quick fixes and for dealing with only those problems that exist in the here and now. It can be hard to wrap our heads around the notion that a woman's diet or mental state today will have a serious effect on her children's health many years out. But there's a less obvious reason that resistance to maternal health initiatives might crop up among the liberal-leaning individuals who typically support public health initiatives and women's health-care issues: abortion politics.

    Caring for the fetus, protecting the fetus from harm - to abortion rights advocates, such measures sound like the steps antiabortion forces have taken to try to establish a fetus's rights. What's the difference between controlling a diabetic pregnant woman's blood sugar and, say, charging a pregnant woman who uses drugs with child abuse? Between telling an obese pregnant woman that her weight may predispose her child to obesity and requiring a woman to look at an ultrasound of her fetus before proceeding with an abortion?

    The crucial difference lies in the intent behind the intervention and in the way it's carried out. Help in achieving a healthy pregnancy must be offered to pregnant women, not forced upon them. And the aim behind such efforts must be to foster the health and well-being of the woman and her fetus, not to score political points.

    Ultimately, research on the developmental origins of health and disease should lead us to a new perspective on pregnancy, one that's not about coercing or controlling women - nor about ogling or fetishizing them - but about helping them, and their future children, be as healthy and as happy as they can be.

  • Doctors Break Down Which Pregnancy ‘Tips’ Really Matter

     

    By Matt Brennan of The Beacon-News

    While the lists of pregnancy do’s and don’ts can be extensive, there is one thing women should not lose track of as they go through the process, and that’s enjoying it.

    That’s the advice of Dr. Susan Acuna, obstetrician/gynecologist on staff with Central DuPage and Delnor Community hospitals.

    Women should remember to enjoy the experience of having a child moving around inside them, she said. While they experience that thrill, there are things they can be doing to keep themselves and the baby healthy.

    There is a lot of information out there. It can be overwhelming. Some of the information and ideas have a stronger medical basis than others. It is best to follow the recommendations that have a stronger basis in medicine and science, she said.

    “Many women come in and say, ‘I heard I should avoid lunch meat and peanut butter,’” Acuna said. “Those are not based on any factual information.”

    The concern about peanuts or peanut butter is that eating them would increase the baby’s chance of picking up the allergies. It’s not based on enough science, she said. With lunch meat, she said to just make sure that it is reasonably fresh.

    The most important thing for women to do during pregnancy is to take a prenatal vitamin, Acuna said.

    “It’s shown to prevent birth defects,” she said. “That’s an important thing that women may or may not know.”

    Provena Mercy Medical Center nutritionist Melissa Gash said that making sure calorie intake is correct for the patient’s height and weight is important.

    “You really only need about 300 extra calories a day,” she said. “It’s really minimal what you have to increase.”

    To put it in perspective, the extra calories can be achieved with a glass of milk and an apple, she said. The normal recommended weight gain during a pregnancy is about 25 to 30 pounds. Many women gain much more than that, she said.

    “They wonder why they can’t lose that weight after the baby’s out,” she said.

    Yoga, Pilates and prenatal water aerobics have all increased in popularity recently, said Dr. Natalie Roche of Fox Valley Women and Children’s Health Partners. The exercises can help to alleviate some of the pain associated with pregnancy, she said.

    There are some exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy, such as biking, roller skating and jumping on a trampoline, Acuna said.

    “I recommend they avoid any activity that would put them at risk of falling,” she said.

    Running, biking on a stationary bike and working out on an elliptical machine are all safer forms of exercise, she said.

    Gash is on her third pregnancy, she said. She also runs a nutrition seminar for pregnancy at Provena Mercy called “From Pickles to Ice Cream.” Cravings are legitimate, she said. Many pregnant women have them. But, “a lot of women use them as an excuse,” she said.

    Morning sickness and nausea are fairly common, especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, she said.

    “Sometimes you’re just not going to feel that good those first couple weeks,” she said.

  • Hopkins Looks Into Fitness Guidelines For Pregnant Women

    This article by Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun

    Study to see how much exercise is healthy for mom, baby.

    Her Asics laced up and her water bottle at her side, Meredith Dobrosielski stepped onto the treadmill for a robust half-hour walk.

    For the Towson runner, this wasn't just any trip to the gym. The session took place in a lab at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. And each step offered information on the impact of exercise on her fetus. Dobrosielski is about 8 months pregnant.

    Doctors expect the information collected to fill in some gaps in the data on how much pounding is OK for a developing baby. Eventually, they hope to be able to develop personalized workout schedules for women in different states of fitness.

    "We do know that not only can exercise be done, it should be done," said Dr. Andrew J. Satin, professor and vice chairman of the department of gynecology and obstetrics for the Hopkins School of Medicine. "But the level of fitness should impact the individual's prescription."

    Not too long ago doctors used to tell all women not to exercise when they became pregnant, but that advice has changed, said Satin and Dr. Linda Szymanski, a fellow in maternal fetal medicine helping conduct the research. But there still is little data about what's too much for the elite athlete verses the couch potato and those in between. Satin said much is based on "opinion and common sense."

    They believe research is limited because doctors fear testing pregnant women. But nine months into the study, there have been no adverse reactions. As a precaution, the hospital's labor and delivery area is close by.

    About 60 women in their third trimester of pregnancy take turns on the treadmill. Some are regular runners and others are sedentary. Everyone takes a moderate walk, and the regular runners also run until they hit their peak capacity but don't linger there. Several measurements are taken over the sessions from fetal heart rate and blood flow to the womb to fetal movement and amniotic fluid levels. The fetuses are examined by ultrasound before and after treadmill work.

    Over time, the doctors plan to measure the impact on fetuses; partner with biomedical engineers to develop new ways to monitor the fetus, perhaps wirelessly during exercise; and collect long-term data on the pregnancy outcomes. The treadmill tests are the first step and some solid data should be available in a couple of months.

    Doctors and groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Pregnancy Association now give blanket advice to pregnant women to get 30 minutes of exercise a day.

    Potential benefits include improvement in general health and a decreased chance of gestational diabetes and hypertension, among others. Also, these groups say, that labor, delivery and recovery can be easier.

    But the advice is based on recommendations from government and groups such as the American College of Sports Medicine that non-pregnant people get such exercise. And it's filled with notes of caution for those who are just starting and those with certain conditions. The college suggests seeing a doctor first, starting slow and stopping when there's pain or bleeding — advice Satin doesn't dispute.

    He added that doctors do know driving up a heart rate and maintaining it there for too long can cut off blood flow to the fetus. Getting overheated and dehydrated are also problems. Joints also can become lax and balance may be off, so some exercises should be avoided, such as street biking late in pregnancy. Contact sports, horseback riding and downhill skiing also may cause injury from blows or falls.

    But he and others say not everyone has gotten the message that exercise is beneficial.

    It was a big change in 2008 when physical guidelines were published for Americans, including pregnant women, said James Pivarnik, who works with the sports medicine college and is professor kinesiology and epidemiology and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State University.

    He said the guidelines do indicate "that the elite runner can continue doing what she is doing for a bit, provided her health care provider is in the loop, and that she has no warning signs or other issues." But he said "boutique" recommendations are hard with so many possible circumstances.

    "Pretty much the aerobic recs are the same as for anyone," he said.

    Pivarnik agreed more research is needed, such as Satin's. He's now looking at how much weight lifting is good for pregnant women.

    Szymanski said the incomplete data has only confused the message. "[Pregnant] women express frustration because a number of doctors give different advice. Some still tell them not to exercise, especially if they haven't been exercising."

    Outdated information and myths perpetuated by the Internet still mean many women who had been exercising — up to a quarter by some accounts — stop because they fear they will harm their babies, the doctors said.

    Satin said it's actually a really good time to suggest starting an exercise program. Women are more apt to take care of themselves when they are pregnant. They'll quit smoking, eat better and exercise for the sake of the developing baby and then carry over the good habits, he said.

    As long as jogging is comfortable, runners can keep at it. Stationary bikes and running in a pool also are good exercises, Satin said. And walking is safe for nearly everyone. The fetuses are not "flipping and flopping," he said. In fact, the entire uterus is moving with the exercise motion, buoying the fetus.

    Satin said his interest in pregnant athletes grew out of his work with women in the military who wanted to stay physically fit. He was formerly a professor and chair of the Uniformed Services University F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in the obstetrics and gynecology department. Szymanski also is an exercise physiologist and collegiate athlete.

    Dobrosielski, who is about to have her second child, said she decided to participate in the study because she wanted to help other women. She's been running "forever" and played field hockey in high school and college. An ankle injury stopped her from running after 4 months, but everyday she runs in a pool, or does yoga, lifts weights or rides a stationary bike.

    She knows she won't lose as much of her fitness and will be able to return to running, even racing, quickly. Others should be able to find out what's good for them, she said.

    "It's a special population and there's so little time for study," she said of pregnant women. "I felt comfortable exercising and I knew when I needed to stop. I think it's important for all women to exercise and maybe this research will convince them to do that."

    Exercising while pregnant

    Several medical organizations recommend 30 minutes of exercising a day for pregnant women.

    •If you're just beginning or have a condition, consult your doctor. Start slow and stop if you have pain or bleeding.

    •Don't get overheated, stay hydrated and take breaks.

    •Your joints may be lax and your balance off, particularly in later months, so avoid unstable ground or consider a stationary bike or running in a pool.

    •No contact sports, but some weight training is OK. Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester.

  • Swim Your Way To A Healthy Pregnancy

    Whether you were an exercise buff, weekend warrior or more of a couch potato before you were pregnant, swimming is one exercise that almost anyone can do without injury when expecting.

    Swimming provides you with a buoyancy and weightlessness that is welcome to most pregnant women. Especially when past the halfway mark of 20 weeks, you begin to feel the lethargy of those extra pounds and awkwardness of a growing belly. It is also a great way to relax and stretch out those ligaments and tendons that have been working overtime during pregnancy.

    Best Exercise for Warm Weather

    One of the best benefits of swimming during the hot summer months is that it really does cool you down. Overheating is a big risk for pregnant women especially when exercising outside as the temperature begins to sour in the summertime. Women who are pregnant already have a naturally higher internal basal temperature which is one of the early indicators of pregnancy. The cool water of a swimming pool helps to prevent overheating while exercising. However, it is important to remain hydrated even when you are in the pool as your body is working out and expending. It is also important to listen to your body and ease into exercise and take frequent breaks. Your pregnant body will tire quicker and your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute.

    Low-impact and Easy to Do:

    Water exercises are very easy to do. You don’t have to sign up for a fancy class or need years of yoga training to be ready to do some simple water aerobics. Best of all water exercise is low-impact, so it is very hard to injure yourself as the water breaks the impact of a slip or fall. Even just walking back and forth across the length of the pool is a good water resistance exercise. If you are more ambitious, grab a kick board and kick a few laps or do a frog kick breaststroke. If you are up for a little more, swim a few laps. Just a half hour of swimming or water exercise a day will help tone up your muscles for supporting your baby, can reduced pregnancy-related swelling, lower blood pressure and give more lubrication to your joints and ligaments.

    Family Friendly Exercise:

    Best of all swimming is a fun exercise the whole family can enjoy. If you have other small children, swimming is a great way to engage with them when you are pregnant and more limited in your physical activity or exercise endeavors. Everybody loves the water and swimming is great way for you to cuddle, hold and actively play with young children who may normally be too heavy for you to lift and carry and while pregnant. It’s also a great time to improve swimming skills and water safety for early swimmers with you in the pool with them rather than watching from the bench. Just helping a little one to swim is water aerobics exercise in itself!

    Low Start-up Costs:

    In terms of equipment for water exercise, all you really only need is access to a pool and a comfortable maternity swimsuit. Prego Maternity has some excellent simple one piece maternity swimsuits such as the Empire Tank for $69 which gives excellent bust support and a great suit for real swimmers. For a lower cost check out Prego Maternity’s Texture Heart Swimsuit for $48 which is a great all around one piece suit for swimming or water aerobics.

    Be sure to get your doctor’s permission before embarking on a prenatal exercise program. There are some high-risk conditions that do rule our exercise during pregnancy. But, for most expecting women it is one of the best exercises you can do for your body and mind.

  • Swim During Your Pregnancy!

    If you are looking for a great workout that is safe while you are pregnant, than consider swimming. Swimming is one of the safest forms of exercising, assuming you know how to swim and are not learning for the first time when you are pregnant. Swimming improves circulation, builds endurance, burns calories and exercises both arms and legs. Because of the weightlessness and the low-impact to tendons and ligaments, swimming poses a very low risk of injury although you should check with your doctor or midwife before taking the plunge.

    It is important to stay well hydrated when swimming, and easy to forget as you are surrounded by water. There is no hard and fast guideline for how much to drink, but stayed tuned into your body and try to drink before you swim and every 20-30 minutes when swimming and also when you get out of the pool. If it is hot then you will need to drink more. Also, stay away from hot pools or saunas as they can overheat you and your growing fetus.

    For some women, swimming first thing in the morning can counteract morning sickness and energize them for their day. If you swam regularly before you were pregnant, there is no reason why you can't continue during pregnancy, just pace yourself and do not overexert yourself. The water does help keep you from in the hot sun, which is one of the great benefits of swimming versus other forms of exercise in the warm summer months. It also supports your ligaments and joints that tend to be a little looser during pregnancy and more prone to injury during high impact workouts.

    By your second semester you will probably need to invest in a maternity swimsuit to fit your changing body more comfortably. It is important that you do not constrict your belly or bust with minimizing non-pregnancy styles that may cut down circulation to your growing tummy and compress changing breasts. Maternity swimwear is made with more stretch in styles that are designed for women's ever changing pregnant body which is important to the health of you and your baby.

    If you are looking for a classic lap maternity swimsuit, then check out Prego Maternity's Empire Tank.

    Prego Maternity Empire Tank

    Prego Maternity Empire Tank

     This suit provides superior bust support with adjustable straps, molded cups and a bra hook in the back for maximum performance. This suit comes in both navy and black and has plenty of stretch in the tummy for all trimesters of your pregnancy.

    If you opt for a little more style in your suit for a water aeobics class or just playing in the pool, then Maternal America has a number of cute new tankini styles this season to check out. My favorite is the Jenni Tribal Tankini that has adjustable hip sash ties and a halter tie on the top that can also be worn as a mini with the ties bowed in front. The tribal pattern is super cute with an O-ring accent in front and black bikini bottoms.

    The blue colors are especially in vogue this spring and summer. Maternal America's Diamond Josie Halter Tankini

    Maternal America Diamond Tank

    Maternal America Diamond Tank

    showcases a sporty blue diamond pattern with adjustable halter ties and bottom sash ties. If you opt for solids, then check out their Carrie Tankini which comes in a memorizing royal blue shade. This strong blue looks great on all skin tones and blondes and brunettes alike. The stylish sweetheart cut with padded bra and ruching is super flattering across the chest. The sash tie bikini bottoms are adjustable for your changing size.

    In a softer blue/aqua shade, Maternal America has a new color take on their classic Flutter Halterkini. This style can be worn as a string halter or mini if you bow the halter strings in front. The lightweight mesh fabric across the belly is a great alternative to a bikini if you don't really want to bare all, but show only hint of skin. It is also a great style for growing bellies as you can comfortably wear this style through your third trimester with no constriction on your belly. Side ties on the bikini bottom can be adjusted to fit comfortably.

    If you like a cute mini style suit, then take a look at Prego Maternity's South Seas Strapless Mini. This suit is absolutely adorable with big aqua flowers and foliage set against a chocolate backdrop with solid chocolate bottoms. There is also a detachable halter string that comes with the suit for a halter style.

    Swimming can help you and your baby's health during all stages of your pregnancy. So consult with your doctor or midwife before embarking on a serious swimming exercise regime and use your own good judgment.

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