Sunday, June 7, 2009

Walk to Work

Every week, I have patients asking to be dismissed from work because they are on their feet. They ask for letters for the DMV so that they can get a handicapped parking space. They want excuse letters for gym memberships. They want special treatment because somewhere they heard that they need to "baby themselves" when they are expecting a baby.

Exercise is good for everyone. Especially pregnant women. The pregnancy will be healthier and go much faster if women work and exercise and go dancing. Preparing for the arduous task of labor ( hard work ) includes getting in shape. All forms of exercise are inherently risky. You could pull a muscle or even break a leg. But the risks of being a couch potato are pretty common knowledge. Walking , swimming, eliptical, treadmill, doubles tennis, yoga and the list goes on are great exercise for pregnant women. Parking far from the mall, means you walk ( exercise ) to get there and walking in the mall is exercise too. Standing on your feet can hurt your feet, but with frequent rests and bathroom breaks, standing poses no threat. Sitting in one spot all day is much more dangerous. Get up, move around. If you have bleeding or pain, loss of fluid from your vagina, STOP and call your doctor.

It is important to hydrate when you exercise, more than you might on the days you are not exercising. Water requirements increase with perspiration and evaporation. It is important to keep your heartrate ( pulse ) under 140 beats per minute so you know that your baby is getting the oxygen it requires. Take your pulse when you find yourself perspiring or short of breath. Wear a cardiac ( heart ) monitor, if you want to.

A slightly related subject is stress. There are all kinds, you know. Change is stressful, even happiness can change your "stress" biochemistry. People believe that stressful events or stress on- the- job are bad for the developing baby. Babies don't know when their mothers are FEELING stress. They are affected when their moms are REACTING to stress by not resting, or not eating well, not taking care of themselves. If the situation requires it, speak to your doctor. There are medicines that are useful for sleep ( Tylenol PM ) and medicines that can be used for anxiety in pregnancy. Exercise is a great holistic antedote for stress. The endorphins produced provide a benefical effect and boy, oh boy, do you ever sleep better. Meditaion is the oldest stress-buster around and it is, like exercise, not medicine at all, but very habit forming. Try taking five minutes in the morning before work and another five before dinner. Sit in a chair and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Think of someone or something you love, unconditionally, and focus on that feeling. The five minutes will pass all too quickly and when you open your eyes again, you will be relaxed and refreshed. Try it, you'll like it. You'll have alot more energy for all that dancing.