Fit & Pregnant:
The pregnant woman’s guide to exercise, Revised Edition
by Joan Marie Butler

[2006, Montpelier, Vermont: Vitesse Press; 191 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 82, Summer 2007, © 2007, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Jill Cohen.]

Exercise is an essential part of health. In this fast-paced world of today, exercise is used as both a stress reliever and a way to enhance oneself physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is no wonder that the concept of exercise during pregnancy has now reached a level of acceptance, with many myths dispelled about exercise being harmful during the childbearing year. Fit & Pregnant is for women who are active and wish to be, or already are, pregnant.

Joan does an incredible job of explaining fitness from the point of view of a midwife, a mother and an athlete. She incorporates many testimonials that demonstrate how exercise affects women individually. She explains how to reform your exercise during pre-pregnancy to fit fertility needs, during pregnancy to acclimate to your changing body and postpartum as you regain your pre-pregnancy state. This book is straight forward, sensible and to the point.

Within the content you travel through chapters on fertility, your changing body, nutrition, stretching, Pilates, yoga, exercise balls, aerobics, weight training, running, walking, swimming and cycling. A thorough discussion on the postpartum period and life after baby gives the reader good insight regarding continuing an athletic lifestyle as a family. A full resource list includes books, DVDs, clothing, equipment, organizations and support groups. Every chapter has highlighted tidbits of advice from many women. This really reinforces all the information given and creates a wonderful multi-perspective influence that rounds out all the information.

While this book is geared towards the already athletic woman, any woman considering incorporating fitness into her pregnancy will gain a lot from this book. So will practitioners who have little knowledge of exercise and pregnancy.

The more women become aware of the benefits of exercise and fitness before, during and after pregnancy, the safer birth will become. Health is a vital ingredient to the childbearing year and exercise is a key component in women’s health, baby wellness and family fitness.

Reviewer Jill Cohen lives in Gates, Oregon, with her husband and two of her four beautiful children. After being a lay midwife for over 20 years she has now returned to school to obtain a nursing degree.

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