*Consult your doctor and ACOG guidelines when planning your fitness regime.
There are so many misconceptions as to if we should exercise while pregnant or how we should exercise while pregnant. Hopefully, this short article will answer some of those questions.
I wrote this article for the first edition of the birth.play.love magazine. birth.play.love was started by Sarah Cody, MS Ed who is a Baby Planner, Eco-Maternity Consultant and Owner of Storkologie. She wanted to provide expecting moms a place to go for advice on all things maternal! birth.play.love. is a great name, right?
The Fall 2013 edition of birth.play.love. is all about caring for our bodies. One way we can do this is through exercising through our pregnancy.
It’s easy to overlook how astounding our pregnant bodies are. When pregnant, our bodies transform into ultra-efficient factories. They work hard each day to keep our wee ones safe inside while we continue our day-to-day lives. Did you know that when you’re in your second trimester, your blood volume increases substantially, which brings more oxygen to your muscles (and baby), and in turn, improves your athletic state? This is just one example of the intricate acts your body performs to safely develop your baby.
How can we aid our bodies in its plight to craft our little, plump sweetheart? We could go through a laundry list, but I’ll focus on just one aspect: fitness. WAIT! Don’t tune me out just yet…
Many women are afraid to exercise when they become pregnant for multiple reasons: they heard it could hurt baby, they have never exercised before, they think they need to keep their heart rate low..
There are a slew of excuses we can use to avoid working out when pregnant. Gratefully, most of them have no research to support them.
Your doctor most likely follows guidelines posted by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ACOG constantly adds to and alters recommendations as new evidence arises. It is the expert in the pre- and postnatal fields.
Current ACOG guidelines support and encourage prenatal aerobic exercise and resistance training for most women. Some suggested exercises include running, dancing, swimming, light weight-lifting, and skipping rope. ACOG recommends staying at or below the perceived exertion of “somewhat hard”, which would be an 8 on a scale from 1-10. Although you should avoid activities that have a high risk of injury or falling, most of what you did before you were pregnant is fine to do while pregnant.
Exciting News! You can improve your and your baby’s fitness levels even if you were not active before getting pregnant. ACOG encourages walking, swimming, aerobics, and cycling for those entering the fitness realm for the first time.
Whichever exercises you choose to do, consult your physician, and then get out there and exercise consistently. You will not only strengthen your heart, help prevent gestational diabetes, increase your energy, and sleep better, but it is likely that you will also develop a stronger sense-of-self for when baby is born. Now, that’s caring for your body and baby!
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy by Lisa Druxman (Founder of FIT4MOM)
Myths and Facts of Prenatal Fitness, FIT4MOM
Workout Ideas, FIT4MOM