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
- 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.
FACT: Exercise may 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!
- Small meals, include protein, reduce sugars.
MYTH: You should cut back exercise in the last trimester
- 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
- ACOG recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, with doctor approval.
- ACSM recommends 5 or more days per week.
MYTH: You must keep your Heart Rate under 140 bpm (beats per minute)
- This is not a recommendation on 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.
FACT: With a few exceptions, you can participate in any sports while pregnant that you did before
- You can continue past sports if you listen to your body.
- Avoid contact sports.
- Avoid exercises with risk of falling.
- Non-weight bearing exercise is likely to be more comfortable.
MYTH: Kegels are not necessary if you are going to have a Cesarean
- Most pelvic floor damage is caused during pregnancy.
- Cesarean patients still complain of urinary incontinence.
FACT: 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
FACT: Warning Signs to Stop Exercise During Pregnancy
- Dyspnea (labored respiration) prior to exertion
- Premature labor
- Severe abdominal pain
- Feeling unusually tired
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Decreased fetal movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage