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December 28, 1990 - Image 63

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-12-28

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The New Rules Of Pregnancy

Ideas and advice about
exercise, nutrition, weight gain
and age have all changed.



Special to The Jewish News

dedicated fitness en-
thusiast, Barbara
Gaffin didn't quite
know what to do when she
became pregnant.
"My doctor knew nothing
about exercise and pregnan-
cy," she recalls. "He told me
not to get my heart rate over
120 but when I asked him
why, he said he didn't know."
Mrs. Gaffin took matters in-
to her own hands, calling,
writing and requesting guide-
lines on exercise and
pregnancy from anyone and
any place she could find.
Eventually, she located the
Melpomene Institute for
Women's Health Research
(2125 E. Hennepin Ave.,
Minneapolis, Minn. 55413;
612-642-1951) which had
some information on preg-
nant women and fitness.
"What I finally figured out
for myself was that there
didn't seem to be any problem
if I continued exercising," says
Mrs. Gaffin, who did indeed
continue her fitness regime —
jogging four miles a day un-
til two weeks before giving
birth, and cycling on a sta-
tionary bicycle for 50 minutes
per session right up until she
Mrs. Gaffin points out, how-
ever, that the most important
rule she followed was to use
common sense. "Listen to
your body," she advises. "If
your body says no, then lessen
your routine or give it up com-
pletely. I jogged more slowly,
just an 11-minute mile. I gave
up sit-ups in my sixth month.
When things became uncom-
fortable I stopped."
Like Mrs. Gaffin, Anne
Mayerson is also continuing
to exercise during her preg-
nancy but she has heard con-
_) flicting advice on the subject.
"I gave up running in my
fourth month, and now I do
the Stairmaster or a station-
ary bike," she says, "but my

friend's doctor has told her
not to do the Stairmaster.
Basically, I think it depends
on how you feel."
What these women have
found is that there are no
hard and fast rules anymore
concerning such issues in
pregnancy as weight gain, ex-
ercise, nutrition, even age of
the mother. But what they
perceive as lack of, or conflic-
ting, information, many doc-
tors would say is just an
individualized approach to
In the
past, the
rule of
thumb for
women was
"don't over
exert," says Dr. Donald Blitz,
an obstetrician on the staff of
Sinai Hospital. Today, exer-
cise is promoted, with the
caveat that it be something
with which the pregnancy
woman is comfortable.

"There are virtually no ac-
tivities that are absolute no-
nos for pregnant women
anymore," he adds, "with the
exception of something like
scuba diving because of the
pressure and oxygen
variables. I have patients who
ski and who play tennis."
Exercise is not just for the
woman who is already active
though, says Dr. Blitz. A brisk
walk, a stationary bicycle,
water aerobics are all good
ways for the pregnant woman
to develop the cardiovascular
endurance and muscular tone
that makes pregnancy easier.
However, as Barbara Gaffin
would be the first to tell,
though exercise may help you
feel better during pregnancy,
it doesn't ensure an easy la-
bor or delivery. "I had a horri-
ble labor," she recalls. "People
have the misconception that
exercise makes labor easier. I



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