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Dear Dr. Caraotta,
I am 2 months pregnant and have a question about exercise. I used to be an aerobics instructor at the YMCA and have been doing aerobic exercises for several years. I would like to continue to exercise, but would like some guidelines. I understand that you work with women and children's health issues as well as pregnant ladies. I would appreciate any comments and or insight you could send my way.
Dr. Caraottan's Response
Since pregnancy is a normal process and not a disease, many women do well with exercising throughout the term. At certain stages, and in some cases, activities may need to be modified and changed, depending on the type of exercise, intensity of the workout and if there are extenuating circumstances or potential complications in the pregnancy.
From a musculo-skeletal stand point, which is our specialty, there are two phases when most patient's experience muscular pain syndromes during pregnancy. This, however, could vary depending on the patient's activities, bone structure, and prior spinal conditions.
As a female grows in her pregnancy, the increased weight in the abdominal region causes the pelvis to orient in the anterior or flexed position. When this occurs, there is an increase in the curvature in the low back, which adds stress to the entire spine and makes a patient more susceptible to "pinching a nerve".
Early in pregnancy when there is no postural change visible, light impact exercises in the conditioned Individual may be acceptable but contraindicated when postural changes have occurred.
In the last trimester, a hormone called relaxin is prevalent, for the purpose of relaxing musculature, and allowing musculature to expand during child birth. When relaxin is more prevalent, it is not uncommon for vertebra and joints to "slip" from their corrected position to the uncorrected position and cause pain.
During this stage of pregnancy, performing more rhythmic, non impact, aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming or cycling is preferable.
With all the precautions taken, since pregnant females are usually advised not to take any analgesics during pregnancy, If musculo-skeletal pain syndromes occur, feel free to contact our office. It is not uncommon for ladies who exercise and do not exercise to have pregnancy related issues. Chiropractic Rehabilitation is the safest and most common recommended treatment of choice. With the combination of chiropractic adjustments, pregnancy exercise, and alteration of activities, most women respond well and go into labor pain free.
If you have a question that you would like Dr. Caraotta to address in his column, you could send your question to his office at 4921 E. State Street, Rockford, IL. 61108 or call your question in at Caraotta Chiropractic Orthopedics, (815) 398-4004 and ask to speak with one of the doctors.