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Pregnant Women Now Have Pick Of Exercise Programs

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DURHAM, N.C. — It used to be that pregnant women were told to relax and take it easy. Not anymore! Moms-to-be who are looking for a workout now have their pick of programs.

Just a few years ago, prenatal aerobics was about the only option available for pregnant women.Now there is pilates, yoga and more.

Before starting a workout program, expert advise doing your homework.

Exercise physiologist Anne Kenyon leads the prenatal program at the Duke Wellness Center. The program's popularity does not surprise her.

"They want to deliver healthy babies, they want to feel good," Kenyon said.

The weightlessness of water lured Joanne Grosshans to the pool.

"It really feels good after walking around feeling a little heavy," she said.

Claudia Fernandez's workouts helped her during delivery.

"It made a huge difference to me," she said.

When picking an exercise program, experts suggest using common sense.

"Doing a lot of pivoting, hopping and turning -- generally that's not a good idea," Kenyon said.

It is also important to check the instructor's credentials.

"You can ask if they have a specific pre- and post-natal exercise certification or specific training," Kenyon said.

Most programs require a doctor's permission. Women with a history of miscarriage, preterm labor or pregnancy complications usually cannot participate.

Kenyon said it is important for women to listen listen to their bodies -- stopping the exercise when out of breath or there is pain.

"You should feel good after the end of the exercise," she said.

After an hour in the pool, Grosshans feels better than she has all day. She said she is going to exercise until the day she delivers.

Women who exercise at home using prenatal exercise tapes should follow the the same advice.Instructors' credentials are usually listed on the tape box.


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