Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy has endless benefits for you and baby, but sometimes the fear of potentially harming your baby may be preventing you from doing so. In this post I want to share with you some guidelines when it comes to exercising with the hope to inspire you to lead an active prengancy and to bring you peace of mind.
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
The answer is YES! If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start most types of exercise, but you may need to make a few changes.
It has been shown that physical activity during pregnancy does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery (ACOG 2015). However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits.
How much is recommended and what can I do?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (ACOG 2015). You can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day.
If you are new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day, adding 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for 30 minutes a day.
Safe exercises to do:
•Stationary cycling (balance)
Where do I begin? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Heart Rate: Expect an increase in training heart rate during the first trimester. Due to an increase need for blood supply early on in the pregnancy, your heart rate will pump more often to achieve demand. Latest research has shown that “target heart rates cannot be used to monitor exercise intensity in pregnancy” (ACOG 2015). So, if you're still under the impression that you need to maintain a heart rate of 140bpm or less that information is outdated.
The best way to monitor exercise intensity during pregnancy is to follow the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) chart. This is a 1-10 rating scale that helps you identify your current intensity level. If you were not exercising before pregnancy follow a more gradual progression. Begin by identifying an RPE of 2-3 and gradually increase intensity as you feel appropriate based on your fitness level (ACOG 2015).
Be sure to be drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
● Be aware of the temperature in the exercise room.
● Avoid heated swimming pools, steam rooms, and saunas.
● Avoid exercising outdoors in hot temperatures, specially when not familiar with it
These are just a few important guidelines to keep in mind when exercising during your pregnancy. For additional help, sign up for our free Prenatal Fitness Guide and learn how to safely exercise during your pregnancy.