So many times women, especially with their first pregnancy become afraid of working out while pregnant. Not only is it beneficial to exercise during pregnancy, it is important for you and your growing baby to feel good and move safely through exercise.
If you are pregnant and new to exercise or you were not a regular exerciser - it is always important to get cleared from your doctor before starting a routine. Start slow and listen to your body.
Here are the top 3 pregnancy myths that women ask me regularly!
Myth #1: You can’t let your heart rate go about 140
-> First off, there is no target heart rate specifically for pregnant women. Heart rate is affected by so many things other than exercise like hydration, sleep, medication...Instead of looking for a target heart rate when exercising, think of the RPE scale which is the rate of perceived exertion. The scale is more accurate because YOU can determine how hard YOU are working based on how you feel. As a personal trainer and current pregnant mama, I find listening to my body and scaling the workout on how I feel rather than a specific heart rate number keeps me in control and allows me to gauge how I move through the exercise program.
Myth #2: Abdominal “core” work is off limits
-> While certain “core” exercises should be off the table, not all core exercises are bad. When choosing your core exercise always pay attention to what it is doing. If you see your core coning or doming, then immediately stop the exercise and do not do it again. If you are doing an exercise where you hold your breath, which causing intra-abdominal pressure which is not good for your core and pelvic floor, then stop immediately and do not do it again.
-> You should be doing exercises that strengthen the core and pelvic floor. For example here are some safe exercises (again if you see coning, doming or it doesn’t feel right - then STOP the exercise): pallof press, side plank, clam shell, pelvic tilts, breathing…
Myth #3: Lifting weights while pregnant is not safe
-> While this is true if you are performing the exercises incorrectly, it is important to do resistance training while pregnant. Lifting weights helps pregnant women maintain strength and endurance which is needed as the body changes through each trimester.
-> Tips for lifting when pregnant: reduce the weight when needed (don’t try and PUSH through your exercises), make sure your form is correct, make sure your breathing through each movement and not holding your breath (this causes pressure in the abdomen which affects the core and pelvic floor), and always always always listen to your body and slow down and rest when needed (pregnancy is not the time to beat your mile run or PR a lift).
Remember exercise is important pre/post natal for you and your growing baby, but it should be done safely. Always check with your doctor before starting anything new. If you are afraid of exercise but want to follow a program, hire a certified pre/postnatal coach who has been certified to help with your specific needs.
Pregnancy can be overwhelming (believe me I know!), but the best thing you can do is move and enjoy your growing body that is housing a beautiful baby! Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions regarding exercise and nutrition pre and postnatal!