pregnancy and exercises

 

You’re expecting a baby and you want to stay fit and healthy. But you probably have some questions about what kind of exercise and how much is safe for you and your baby. Lahaina Hall, M.D., an obstetrician on staff at Howard County General Hospital, has some answers for you.

Q: Can I exercise when pregnant?
You can exercise while pregnant, as long as you do not have any medical or obstetrical issues that put your health at risk. Some conditions that would limit exercise are vaginal bleeding, premature rupture of membranes, incompetent cervix, low placenta or risk factors of preterm labor. You should always speak with your doctor first before starting any exercise regimen.

Q: What is a healthy amount to exercise?
If you don’t already exercise regularly and you are beginning an exercise regimen during pregnancy, start slowly and work up to a goal of at least 30 minutes a day. This can have significant health benefits and help with the process of labor.

Q: Is there a time when I should stop exercising?
There is no set time to stop exercising if your pregnancy remains uncomplicated. Certain exercises may be more challenging as the pregnancy progresses, and those exercises will need some modification. Avoid excessive exercise in hot, humid weather. Stay hydrated. Stop exercising if you experience pain, vaginal bleeding, contractions, leakage of fluid, chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, decreased fetal movement, muscle weakness or are feeling faint or dizzy.

Q: Why should I exercise while pregnant?
Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits. It helps build muscle, bone and stamina; improves energy, mood, sleep and posture; promotes strength and endurance; relieves stress; and may possibly help to prevent and treat gestational diabetes.

Q: Which exercises are best for pregnant women?
The best exercises for pregnant women include swimming, walking (if you don’t exercise, walking is a good way to start and build endurance over time), cycling, low impact aerobics and running, especially if you were a runner before pregnancy.

Q: Are there any exercises I should avoid?
You should avoid exercises with an increased risk of falling and contact sports.  Skiing, horseback riding, gymnastics, hockey, soccer, football, basketball, volleyball and boxing are not recommended. After the first trimester, you should avoid exercises requiring you to lie on your back.

Q: How can I avoid injury?
Always warm up before exercising. Stretching is particularly important. This can help avoid stiffness and injury. Hormones during pregnancy cause ligaments to become more relaxed, enabling joints to be more mobile and at risk of injury. Always cool down after exercising by slowly reducing activity and then stretch.

As pregnancy progresses, be aware that your center of gravity will shift with your growing abdomen; this can make you less stable and more likely to lose balance and fall.

STAY HYDRATED!!!!! Make sure to drink water before, during and after exercise.

Lahaina Hall, M.D., is an OB/GYN with Signature OB/GYN in Columbia. For an appointment, call 410-884-8000.

 

 

 

 


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3972610159_b741c629b8_zThe snow is melting and the temperature is finally rising and I could not be happier. How about you? It’s amazing how much happier I am now that the weather has made a change for the better and we are in daylight savings time. I feel like things are possible again. I can go for a walk after work, finally clean out the car, and I generally feel so much better. I can’t explain it.

I’m also excited because I know that the outdoor pools will be opening in just a few short weeks. I love to swim and I love to go to water aerobics. A couple of years ago my son was working at one of the outdoor pools in Columbia that offered water aerobics and I decided to give it a try. It is now one of my favorite ways to exercise. There is something that I just love about being in a pool outdoors.

I’m not alone. Swimming is a popular way to exercise and with good reason. Swimming puts very little stress on your bones and joints and it’s a good exercise for all ages. You can even increase muscle strength and endurance due to the water’s built-in resistance. There are a growing variety of water workouts, including water walking or jogging, water yoga, water Zumba, deep-water exercise, and water therapy and rehabilitation classes. You can read more about the benefits of water-based exercise here. You can also check out the many books and instructional DVDs available throughout Howard County Library System. So, if you’re looking for a low-intensity workout that offers benefits for any fitness level, head to your nearest pool. (FYI: The Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City has a pool with a retractable roof for the indoor/outdoor pool feel and is ADA accessible with a chair lift and a pool wheelchair.)

7422182864_ca9d79b18e_zOne of the other benefits of swimming is that it doesn’t require specialized gear. You really only need a swimsuit. My kids are always amazed that I don’t even wear goggles. I like to open my eyes under water. I think it reminds me of when I was growing up and my family would visit the lake near my grandparent’s home. We would play a game and throw a small rock and then try to find it again on the lake bottom. Also, I never want to look like I am serious about swimming. After all I am just having fun in the pool!

The best reason to get in the water is that you never need to retire from swimming like you do from some other sports. Now if you prefer to exercise on land you can try Boot Camp in the Park at the Corporate Pavilion at Centennial Park every Saturday morning from 8-9 am beginning Saturday, March 21st. This camp is free and for all fitness levels and ages. More details about the kick-off of Boot Camp in the Park and Get Active Howard County can be found here.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure you’re having fun and feeling good about it, that way you’ll be more likely to keep on doing it. Let’s get moving!

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Saturday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister, at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 1:45 p.m.

Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.

Tuesday, March 24, 10:30 a.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun at the same time. Join us and keep your brain challenged with puzzles, word games and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

 


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As many of you are aware, I’m a runner. I started two years ago and this Spring, I have decided to run a marathon (26.2 miles). Am I crazy? I guess that I am. I was contacted to be a race ambassador by a running company and they wanted to follow me as I train and run my first marathon. I am terrified of this distance. All of my running friends have told me that if I can run a half marathon (13.1 miles), I can run a full marathon. Why would this frighten me? I’m not sure, but I think it’s more the distance and the time involved in training that worries me. So, in an effort to stay motivated, I’ve decided to list what running has taught me in the last couple of years. Here are my top ten things that running has taught me:

My marathon is this May (2015)! Wish me luck as I venture on this new journey with my running. Happy trails!

Anna Louise Kallas is a Customer Service Specialist at the Miller Branch. She is an avid reader and enjoys Disney, music and her passion for running. She has been a race ambassador for several local races, and is a Sweat Pink Ambassador for promoting women’s health. Follow her journey towards being physically fit with running and healthy lifestyle choices here on Well & Wise.

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Poisons act fast!

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21

poison_control_number

Call 1 (800) 222-1222 for accidental poisonings.

At some point, almost everyone will experience the horrible realization that a child, family member or friend may have accidentally ingested some kind of poison: the two-year-old smiling and licking his lips with a half-empty bottle of sweet, red, baby acetaminophen in his hand; the toddler who thought the amber chemical in an unmarked bottle was apple juice; the elderly relative with limited vision and memory taking the wrong number of pills at the wrong time; the husband who decided to sand a table not knowing it was covered with lead-based paint; or the friend who inhaled toxic vapors by mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia to clean the floor. A poison is any substance that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, by the wrong person or in the wrong amount, and there are endless ways for accidental poisonings to happen. According to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, poisoning exceeded the number of traffic accident deaths for the first time since 1980. More than two million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country and more than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home.

March 15 to 21 is National Poison Prevention Week, and this year’s themes are: “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons” and “Poisoning Spans a Lifetime.”

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What can you do to help prevent accidental poisonings?

  • Become familiar with the 50 poison prevention tips offered by the National Poison Prevention Week Council, including:
    • General Safety—Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines and household products and buy products in child-resistant packaging.
    • household_poisonsMedicine Safety—Keep medicines out of reach of children, tell your doctor about all of your medications to avoid interactions, and use only the measuring device (dosing cup, dosing syringe, or dropper) that is included with your medicine.
    • Household Product Safety—Keep cleaning products in their original container with original label, never use food containers to store household or chemical products, have your children tested for lead poisoning and remove poisonous plants from your house and yard.
  • Learn the signal warning words for household and chemical products:
    • Caution—slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through skin, inhaled or in contact with eyes or skin
    • Warning—moderately toxic
    • Danger—highly toxic or deadly. The word “poison” must be included in red letters on front panel of the product label.

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What should you do if you suspect a possible poisoning?

  • Keep the Poison Control Center emergency phone number, 1-800-222-1222 in a handy and accessible place and make sure caretakers also know where it is.
  • Do NOT administer syrup of ipecac.
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should get rid of this syrup that for years was thought to be a good way to treat children who had swallowed something toxic by making them vomit.
    • Recent studies show it can irritate the stomach and esophagus and that it can leave up to 50 percent of the toxin behind. The best bet is to call the poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222). If it is a true emergency, you should call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

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walking shelfie
The slow melting of all our snow has inspired me to get out of my winter hibernation and get active and moving once again. My favorite type of exercise is very simple: taking walks around my neighborhood. When the weather is nice, my husband and I try to take a walk once every day. We get to meet some of our neighbors (and more importantly, their pets), see how others have landscaped to get ideas for our own yard, and get some light exercise in to boot. I can really tell the difference in my mood on days when I have walked, and it’s the easiest, most simple exercise possible.

All walking helps to meet the goal of getting a little more active, but obviously it can be performed with more of a goal in mind. Fitness walking can be done both outside or in the privacy of your own home – as proven by Leslie Sansone’s series of Walk at Home DVDs.

On the other hand, there’s always hiking. It doesn’t have to be structured, hours long, big name hikes like the Appalachian Trail, either, although that’s certainly a worthy trip! There’s a plethora of local options close to Howard County, with the Patuxent Research Refuge and Patapsco Valley State Park nearby. But for locals looking for other fun hikes, there are numerous guidebooks for the region, including 50 Hikes in Maryland: Walks, hikes, & backpacks from the Allegheny Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes I want to get a little more urban, and luckily for me there are guides for that too, like Walking Baltimore: An insider’s guide to 33 historic neighborhoods, waterfront districts, and hidden treasures in charm city, which can take you on a bunch of different tours of the city. With all these places to choose from, I’m sure to get my walking in this spring!

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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Monday, March 9,  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, March 10, 10:15 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Toddler Tunes at East Columbia Branch. Music, movement, and some stories too. Ages 1-2 with adult; 30 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 10:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, March 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Tuesdays; 1 – 3 pm. No registration required.

Saturday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister, at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 1:45 p.m.

Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.


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