6 Things To Know If You’re Pregnant And Exercising

Here's the right way to sweat for two


K. Aleisha Fetters |

If you’re pregnant (congrats!), you don’t have to ditch your favourite cardio class or running route. But before you start working out for two, there are a few things to get straight – like what’s totally off limits and how hard you should actually push your body while pregnant. Here’s the right way to sweat for two.

Here, six facts every hot mama needs to know about exercising during pregnancy – straight from an ob-gyn and trainer who’ve been there.

1. You’re Not Going to Set Any PBs

Now is not the time to try to get fitter, lose weight or complete your first triathlon, says Julie M. Levitt, a 15-time marathoner, mom of two, and board-certified ob-gyn with the Women’s Group of Northwestern in the US. Instead, your main goal for the next nine months is to maintain your current fitness level.

As a general rule, during pregnancy you’re good to perform any workouts that were part of your pre-pregnancy routine, but you should always talk to your doctor and a trainer familiar with your health before starting any new workouts or upping the intensity, she says.

2. Exercise Will Get Tougher

“During pregnancy, I was mostly surprised by how much harder exercise became,” says Lynn Goff, mom of two and sports medicine coordinator at Professional Physical Therapy. While hitting the road or your typical sweat session, you might notice that your muscles fatigue sooner or you get winded faster.

That’s because your centre of gravity is ever-changing. It’s like wearing a tool belt and adding large rocks into that tool belt every week while trying to keep up the same level of activity,” she says.

And apart from the extra weight, your growing belly squishes your organs. So taking deep breaths becomes harder and frequent pee breaks become a must, says Levitt. Don’t worry about tracking your workouts or run paces. After all, if you stick with exercise through your pregnancy, you’re already a badass.

3. Modifications Are Your Friend

“Even hardcore fanatics will scale back – especially in the third trimester,” says Levitt. And that’s okay. Feel free to reign in your exercise’s intensity and duration, or give yourself longer rest breaks more frequently. Whatever you need, treat yourself. “Planks are one of my favourite core stability exercises, but as I got further along in my pregnancy and put weight on, I modified it when I felt I was straining,” says Goff.

So how do you know when to slow your roll? Besides the obvious “listen to your body” advice, we recommend giving the “talk test” a go. “Can you carry on a conversation while exercising? If you can’t talk, then you should pull back on your intensity,” says Goff.

Also, if you experience an increase in muscle or joint pain, feel excessively fatigued, or have trouble sleeping, it never hurts to talk to your doc to make sure your current workout is helping, not hurting, your health, she says.

Read More: Myth Busters: Does Breastfeeding Really Help You Lose Weight? 

4. Your Belly Might Go Rogue

“By the time I was at about 30 weeks, every time I worked out my stomach looked like two dolphins were having a fight in a sleeping bag,” Hoff says. She bought a support band to help provide some stability around her belly, which really didn’t change the way her belly looked, but it helped her feel more secure.

5. Your Sweat Sesh Won’t Cause Labour

A lot of women worry that tough workouts will put them on the fast-track to the stirrups – especially as their due dates approach. And while it’s just not possible for exercise to trigger labour, the myth does come with a grain of truth: It is common to experience non-labour contractions when exercising during your third trimester, says Levitt.

Near the end of your pregnancy, your uterus has dibs on about one-fifth of your body’s total blood supply, and when you exercise, some of that blood is going to go to your muscles to deliver nutrients as well as to your skin to help give off heat.

As a result, your uterus battles back until your blood flow normalises. If you experience contractions while exercising, don’t fret. Give it five to 10 minutes and they should calm down, she says.

6. You Shouldn’t Lie Down

While you pretty much know when on-the-stomach exercises aren’t going to be comfortable, safe, or even possible for you, after your first trimester it’s always best to avoid exercises that have you lying flat on your back, says Levitt.

When you get in that position, your enlarged uterus and foetus can easily compress your vena cava, the major vessel that delivers blood to your heart from the lower half of your body.

The results: dizziness, fainting, or even heart palpitations. Plus, the amount of blood flow that reaches your foetus could also be compromised, she says. Any muscle you want to work on your back, you can totally train standing up, sitting, or on your side.

Is it dangerous to have a six-pack while pregnant? Check out this woman’s abs and what our expert has to say about it.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

READ MORE ON: Fitness Fitness Advice Parenting Pregnancy

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