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How Do I Avoid Gaining Cellulite While Pregnant?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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To avoid gaining cellulite while pregnant, women should focus on consistent exercise and healthy food choices. Exercise programs are available that target the hips, thighs, abdomen, and buttocks where this type of fat frequently makes its first appearances. These regimens can be modified as the mother's body begins to show increasing signs of her pregnancy, to avoid causing unnecessary pain and discomfort. Vitamins, fiber, and water are key nutritional elements that can help mothers avoid gaining excess weight and improve the amount of fluid their bodies retain.

Cellulite is the term used to refer to the dimpled appearance that adipose tissue can take on surrounding the upper thighs and lower abdomen of some individuals. The fatty tissues tend to press against connective tissues found in a layered pattern beneath the surface of the skin. This pattern is unique to every person, and often the appearance of cellulite is related to a genetic predisposition for the condition, and is not an indicator of an unhealthy weight gain.

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During pregnancy, women can gain between fifteen and fifty pounds as the result of increased water retention, fluid build up, and the growth of the new baby. This weight gain tends to center around the abdomen, and depending on the natural body shape of the mother, can also spread to the hips and thighs. The hip bones of pregnant women tend to move slowly outward over the course of their gestation in preparation for birth. Most pregnant women also experience a decrease in blood circulation through the body, which can be witnessed in the swelling of the legs, as the growing fetus presses on the mother's skeletal frame, nerves, and internal organs. These physical changes and pressures can lead to the appearance, in any mother, regardless of body shape and age, of cellulite while pregnant.

The primary tool recommended by doctors for fighting cellulite while pregnant is exercise. Different aerobic and muscle building activities can be performed that target the problem areas of the body where fat is most commonly deposited. Exercising can also increase blood flow throughout the body, which is healthy for both baby and mother, and reduce the amount of swelling that may occur in the lower extremities, such as the ankles.

Leg squats, stomach crunches, and ab twists focus on strengthening the core and lower body, where fat can easily gather. Most women are able to perform these exercises easily during the first trimester of pregnancy while the fetus is still relatively small. As the mother's body changes and her belly begins to push outwards, these movements should be adapted to fit her body's comfort level without causing stress or pain. Forward leg squats can be reduced in depth so that the knee does not touch the ground. Stomach crunches and ab twists can be performed with the aid of an exercise ball to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the pelvis and spinal cord.

Diet can also play an important role for women in reducing the appearance of cellulite while pregnant. Many doctors recommend that women only increase their standard diet by 300 calories during their first trimester. This may be increased to as many as 500 calories by the end of the pregnancy. Women should attempt to eat foods heavy in vitamins and fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as iron rich foods like meat that can help improve energy levels throughout the day. High fiber, high water intake diets can lower potential swelling in the legs and improve body circulation, which are key factors in determining how much cellulite shows during the pregnancy.

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