There is much conflicting information out there in regards to exercising while pregnant. Here are 4 misconceptions that hopefully will be cleared up when your done reading.
MYTH #1: Keep your heart rate below 140 bpm (beats per minute) during exercise. In 1985, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued their first guidelines for pregnant women and exercise which included keeping your heart rate at or below 140 bpm through the duration of the exercise. Considerable evidence was published regarding the safety of maternal exercise between the 1980s and early 1990s supporting the need for updated and revised exercise guidelines and ACOG responded in 1994 with new guidelines, eliminating the constraints on heart rate. (1) Exercise should be done safely and while using a RPE or rate of perceived exertion. This scale rates how hard you are working and allows you to determine your safe intensity level. If you can still talk while you are exercising, you are exercising at a desired intensity during pregnancy.
MYTH #2: Don’t exercise for longer than 15 minutes. Same 1985 guideline from the ACOG and same updated guideline. The guidelines were even updated as recently as 2015, with recommendations of 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. These guidelines follow the same RPE scale.
MYTH #3: Don’t start exercising when you are pregnant if you have never exercised before. Pregnancy is a great time to start an exercise program with so many benefits for mom and baby! As long as you are cleared for exercise by your doctor and have no contraindications, the guidelines for exercising 30 minutes on most if not all days of the week are for mostly everyone. This goes for anybody, regardless if you are pregnant, but if you were inactive and choose to start an exercise program you want to start slowly and work your way to higher intensity exercises. This can include type of exercise and the duration of the exercise.
MYTH #4: Don’t do ab exercises when you are pregnant. Core training should be your #1 priority for exercise during pregnancy. Your abdominal muscles play a significant role in your core musculature—along with your diaphragm, pelvic floor, and muscles that support the spine and a strong core is imperative to prepare for labor and delivery. It is advised not to do CRUNCHES during pregnancy because of the pressure it can put on your abdominal wall. There are endless other ways to strengthen abdominal muscles that can be done throughout your entire pregnancy.
We hope that we have cleared up the 4 biggest myths surrounding pregnancy and exercise. Now that you know you can exercise, why don’t you contact us to get started with a program designed specifically to your needs!