I'd like to introduce you to Denise Austin (as if she really needs introducing!). Austin earned a specialized degree in exercise physiology from the University of Arizona in 1979. Since then, she has written 10 books on fitness and weight loss and has more than 20 seasons of television under her belt.
Austin is here with us today to share her knowledge about fitness during pregnancy. Please give her a warm welcome.
ME: How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
AUSTIN: I have two daughters, Kelly and Katie, who are now 16 and 13 years old, respectively. I celebrate my career, but my family is my biggest joy in life.
ME: How much exercise is okay during pregnancy?
AUSTIN: If you’re planning to get pregnant, start exercising now. Don’t start something totally new when you become pregnant. Stay in shape throughout your pregnancy, but don’t do things where you might injure yourself or where there is risk of falling. Listen to your body. If its too much or you're too tired one day, don’t worry about it.
ME: Can exercise during pregnancy really help make a woman’s labor and delivery easier?
AUSTIN: There are no scientific studies about it, but it did help me with stamina and understanding body positions (I’m mainly talking about natural childbirth). Delivering a baby is a workout! I wouldn’t say it helps with pain, but I felt like I could do more after the baby came. Exercise keeps your muscles strong and helps with circulation. It really does help to be strong and fit.
ME: How soon after L & D can a mom begin working out?
AUSTIN: It depends on your delivery. If you've had a C-section, you'll want to do what the doctor tells you and wait 4-6 weeks. I started doing tummy tucks while still in the hospital bed. I took a good week off and then took very light walks a week after I had the baby. I had to film my show – 6 weeks after the delivery – in a leotard! I had a routine to prepare. By six months, I was pretty much back to normal.
ME: How soon can a mom expect to lose the baby weight and get her body back?
AUSTIN: A lot of women lose their baby weight, but they’re not fit. It took nine months for your body to prepare for the baby - it's gonna take about nine months to get back to normal.
ME: Can a mama's tummy ever really go back to normal?
AUSTIN: Oh, for sure! Absolutely! My stomach got better afterwards! Because I was more determined! It can go back to perfect.
You can check out all of Denise Austin's products on the Denise Austin site. Her latest DVD is Denise Austin: Burn Fat Fast - Cardio Blast.
WIN IT! One mama will win Denise Austin's Fit & Firm Pregnancy DVD (the DVD also has a bonus postnatal workout to help you "bounce back" after pregnancy). To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Friday, Feb. 22. Remember, you must either post the Get Fit in February button on your blog or e-mail 5 of your friends about the promotion to be eligible! The winner will be announced and contacted on Saturday, Feb. 23. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
* UPDATE * The winner is #16 Uniquely Yours. Congratulations!