The Myths and Facts of Prenatal Fitness

The Myths and Facts of Prenatal Fitness

  • MYTH: You shouldn't workout during pregnancy if you were not previously engaged in an exercise program prior to becoming pregnant

FACT: ACSM states a healthy woman may continue with her regular exercise regimen or begin a new program during pregnancy. If you have not exercised prior, start slow and build up gradually. Consistency is most important. Exercise may also prevent gestational diabetes. Exercise has an insulin like effect on the muscles causing blood sugar levels to drop. 3-5% of pregnant women will get Gestational Diabetes. REGULAR exercise is one of the most important factors in prevention!

  • MYTH: You should cut back exercise in the last trimester

FACT: You might cut down the intensity, but you should remain consistent. It's important to continue at a similar RPE throughout the pregnancy.

  • MYTH: Pregnant women should not exercise more than three times per week

FACT: ACOG recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, 5 or more days per week with doctor approval.

  • MYTH: You must keep your Heart Rate under 140 bpm (beats per minute)

FACT: This is not a recommendation under the current guidelines. This old recommendation was removed as a guideline in 1994. Use Rate of Perceived Exertion / Modified Borg Scale. ACOG recommends mild to moderate workout based on this scale. With a few exceptions, you can also participate in any sports while pregnant that you did before. This includes continuing past sports if you listen to your body. Avoid contact sports, exercises with risk of falling. Also, non-weight bearing exercise is likely to be more comfortable.

  • MYTH: Kegels are not necessary if you are going to have a Cesarean

FACT: Most pelvic floor damage is caused during pregnancy. Cesarean patients still complain of urinary incontinence.

  • Absolute Reasons to NOT Exercise During Pregnancy

· Significant heart disease

· Restrictive lung disease

· Incompetent cervix

· Multiple gestation at risk of premature labor

· Persistent second or third trimester bleeding

· Placenta previa after 28 weeks of gestation

· Premature labor during current pregnancy

· Ruptured membranes

· Preeclampsia/pregnancy induced hypertension

  • Warning Signs to Stop Exercise During Pregnancy

· Bleeding

· Dyspnea (labored respiration) prior to exertion

· Premature Labor

· Dizziness

· Severe abdominal pain

· Feeling unusually tired

· Headache

· Chest pain

· Muscle weakness

· Calf pain or swelling

· Decreased fetal movement

· Amniotic fluid leakage


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