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The New Guidelines on Exercise During Pregnancy

And how to start working out if you've never worked out before.

The New Guidelines on Exercise During Pregnancy

Historically, pregnancy has been considered a time when women would simply take it easy, avoid any exertion on their bodies, eat whatever made them comfortable or happy, and move along without caring much about a physical fitness routine and adequate nutrition intake. (Ahem.. you've probably noticed this when watching Betty Draper in episodes of Mad Men.)

But in recent years, doctors have taken on a more cautious approach to pregnancy weight gain. For many women, losing the pregnancy weight is quite difficult, and many of them continue with subsequent pregnancies with their starting weight higher than with their first. Over the last decade, research has demonstrated that both mothers and newborns weigh significantly more than they did in the past, which is contributing to a continuing rise in obesity.

Pregnancy weight gain has become a hot topic in many birth circles, and the Journal of the American Medical Association recently issued

new recommendations for mamas-to-be: exercise, exercise, exercise, even if you've never done so before pregnancy.

So now, practitioners and researchers are revising their recommendations, saying that pregnancy is "an excellent time to introduce healthy lifestyle habits because the mother is highly motivated." That's right, you don't need to be an crossfit junky or even an "once-in-a-blue-moon" jogger to work out during your pregnancy.

Since there's a positive correlation between prenatal health and fetal health, physicians now recommend that even those who never worked out before engage in 20-30 minutes of moderate prenatal exercises. How do you know if you're doing too much, too intensely? You should be able to have a conversation while exercising.

A consistent exercise regimen during pregnancy has many benefits: less fetal macrosomia (baby birthweight that's significantly larger than the average, usually over 8lb 13oz); less gestational diabetes and preeclampsia; fewer C-section deliveries; less low-back or pelvic pain; and lower frequency of urinary incontinence. What's more, exercising during pregnancy means your taking care of yourself, which means you're taking care of your child too! In the long run, giving birth to a svelter baby can prevent long-term health issues obesity and diabetes.

A lot of pregnant women find it difficult to fit daily exercise in their schedules. And if you're not a daily exerciser to begin with, it could certainly be a challenge to start making it a habit. But since the benefits of being active during pregnancy outweigh the risks, it's important to try and keep your body moving.

So here are 5 ways to add prenatal activities to your daily schedule (ideally, four to five times a week).

1. Walk instead of using public transportation. You can get off the subway of the bus a station early so as to force yourself to walk a little more every day.

2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator (unless your apartment or your office is on the 33rd floor!).

3. Subscribe to a virtual workout program such as Booya Fitness. Most of their workouts are under 30-35 minutes with a variety of offerings -- a great way to motivate yourself and keep you entertained without using up too much of your time. Plus, you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

4. Check out the Fit4Mom programs in your area as they incorporate baby, stroller and mom workouts. Yes, you can use childcare to give yourself a little physical challenge.

5. Walk around the apartment at various intervals especially after eating a meal. This could also help with digestion.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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