We've been talking about how to stay healthy when you're having several children who are pretty close together. I know mine aren't super close (no "Irish twins" so far), but my third will be born before my oldest turns four, so they are still pretty close together. Ben and I started focusing on getting me as healthy as possible before I became pregnant this time around, and have continued to prioritize my health throughout this pregnancy.
In the first post, I discussed pregnancy nutrition, which is probably the most important issue to focus on in keeping yourself (and your developing baby) healthy. This time, I want to draw your attention to the importance of exercise, and the benefits of chiropractic care.
Exercise during pregnancy
Even though I started walking regularly in my second trimester with Benjamin, I definitely felt the effects of my lack of fitness after he was born. My abs were shot, and as a result, I had a lot of trouble with my back for many months following his birth. In fact, it's still not completely better.
I have gone to my chiropractor with some level of frequency since before Benjamin was born just to keep me functioning, but I noticed the biggest long-term improvement when I started doing this Postnatal Bootcamp DVD . I think strengthening my core made all the difference in the world. I did this workout regularly up until I suspected I was pregnant.
Once my suspicion was confirmed, I bought the Prenatal workout DVD set by the same lady and have been really enjoying it this pregnancy. I try to exercise 5 days per week (though that doesn't always happen!), trying to do the yoga portion every day (and alternating between cardio/toning and walking) because I notice a big difference in my back and hips if I do.
In my experience, exercise during and after pregnancy (assuming you have the OK from your doctor or midwife and you're doing exercises that are safe for your stage of pregnancy or postpartum recovery) can be very beneficial. It's energizing, helps moderate weight gain, helps with fluid retention and circulation--just all around good stuff. And, keeping yourself in shape during pregnancy makes it much easier to get back to your pre-pregnancy body and prepare your body for carrying another baby eventually as well.
Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
I was introduced to chiropractic care when I started having trouble with my sciatic nerve at about 35 weeks pregnant with Benjamin. After hobbling around for a few days, I finally went in and ended up going regularly. I also had really awful back labor with Benjamin.
Before that time I really had barely had any back pain in my entire life, pregnant or not. Since then, my back hasn't ever been 100% perfect again and I have grown to love my chiropractor. Some women like getting their toenails painted? I like getting my back cracked. ;)
Between my pregnancies, I had been going for adjustments just when I felt like I really needed to. At my first prenatal check-up, one of the burning questions I had for my midwife was how in the world I could avoid back labor and her advice was to get regular chiropractic care throughout the pregnancy.
I've been going every two weeks, and we're hoping that keeping everything well aligned will do the trick and prevent the back labor when this sweet babe gets around to making his or her appearance. Back labor is usually related to the baby's position (though Benjamin was not posterior), and having a well aligned back and pelvis makes it harder for the baby to work him/herself into a bad position.
So, that's that! What are your experiences with exercise and chiropractic care during pregnancy? How have you moms of many kept yourselves healthy through so many pregnancies?
In the next installment (and I think the last), we'll be talking about some supplements I highly recommend.
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