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Pregnancy and Exercise CAN Mix

Posted on August 21, 2013
By Nikki Martinez

exercise float


Some myths we’ve been taught in life just NEED to be busted. I mean, I lost soooo many hours of fun in the pool as a kid because I “had to” wait 15 minutes after I ate to swim–Total Myth! For mom’s to be, thanks to columnist Carly Pizzani, there are a few myths about exercise that have been proven and debunked that you may want to pass along! So enjoy that root beer float AND your 30 minute walk/jog:


  • MYTH: Exercising when pregnant pull nutrients from your baby. Your baby takes what it needs from your body, regardless of whether you’re burning calories while exercising. You should be eating enough to cover your own calorie needs as well as your baby’s (estimated at an extra 300 calories a day in your second and third trimester). 


  • MYTH: Running while pregnant is unsafe for the baby. If you were a runner prior to discovering you were pregnant, it’s fine to continue running, as long as it is at a moderate exertion, and you feel comfortable.


  • MYTH: If you didn’t exercise before you were pregnant, it’s not safe to start now.  Here’s what’s not safe: going from a sedentary pre-pregnancy workout to exercising at a high intensity for an hour a day. If you haven’t been working out before, start slow. Aim for five minutes of exercise to start, than add five minutes every day, until you can comfortably get through 30 minutes a day (that’s the recommended exercise prescription from ACOG!). 


  • MYTH: You must keep your heart rate at or below 140 beats per minute.  This actually was an ACOG recommendation once, but based on further studies, it was modified in 1982 to keeping exertion at a moderate level. Yup, 31 years later, and the same outdated advice is still being doled out! What’s ‘moderate’? You should be able to carry on a conversation, but not be able to sing. What’s moderate for you might seem easy, or impossibly hard for someone else, so listen to your own body!


  • MYTH: Lifting weights while pregnant is too stressful on your joints. It’s totally safe to lift weights while pregnant, with a couple of modifications. Make sure you’re not holding your breath, don’t exert yourself to fatigue, and avoid anything where you feel like you’re bearing down. After the first trimester, you should avoid laying flat on your back, so switch to an incline bench. Doing yoga for strength training instead? You should keep in mind that relaxin, a hormone produced during pregnancy, loosens your joints and ligaments to ready your body for childbirth. So, if you’re doing a pose, and you notice your flexibility is way better, you may want to ease up a little bit. It’s definitely worth looking for a specialized pre-natal yoga class, so you know your instructor is aware and informed about teaching pregnant women.


  • MYTH: Doing sit ups while pregnant will squish the baby. Your baby is pretty secure in there, you don’t have to worry about bending at the waist. For the first trimester, sit ups are no problem, but by the second and third, you should avoid laying flat on your back, so it’s easier to skip them altogether. It is a great idea to do exercises that strengthen your stabilization muscles in your abdomen throughout your pregnancy — examples for you to try are planks, push ups, using cables or bands for chops, and pelvic tilts.



Have you had any fables told to you that you finally found out were myths? Feel free to share below ~Nikki :)


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