Are You Pregnant? It’s OK to Exercise

There is good news for those of you who are pregnant! A recent study has shown that exercising during your pregnancy is safe for both you and your baby. In addition, exercise is recommended during pregnancy, even for those of you who haven’t previously worked out.

“Healthy pregnant women who exercise should be encouraged to continue, and if a woman is pregnant and is not an exerciser, she should be encouraged to start a moderate exercise program,” said study co-author Dr. Linda Szymanski, an assistant professor in the division of maternal-fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

I think the big takeaway from Dr. Szymanski is that exercise is beneficial, regardless of your previous exercise level. However, a lot of the subjects interviewed for the study indicated they were hearing the opposite message from their physicians.

“Many women say their doctor told them they should cut back on exercise, and if they weren’t exercising before pregnancy, now is not the time to start,” said Szymanski. “I think it’s just because there’s not enough data out there to assure [health care] providers that the fetus is okay.”

While this study is saying the fetus will be okay, every situation is different, and all women should consult their physicians before beginning exercise. If you have been physically active prior to getting pregnant and plan on continuing physical activity during your pregnancy, the transition will be a much easier one. That being said, I believe one of the big markers that pregnant women need to monitor while working out is their heart rate, a topic that this article didn’t touch on. A generally accepted heart rate for pregnant women working out is 140. Anything higher than that and there is a risk that the baby won’t be getting as much oxygenated blood. As with anything, listen to your body.

My wife’s pregnancies were extremely different from each other. With the first one, she didn’t workout much. With the second one, she was doing kickboxing and weights classes at the gym until about 36-37 weeks. With the first one, she battled sciatic pain, while the second one was a pain-free pregnancy. While I believe her increased activity level helped with the pain, she was also faithfully doing her Egoscue menus the second time around. If you don’t have an Egoscue menu, I would recommend picking up a copy of Pain Free for Women by Pete Egoscue. It’s an EXCELLENT source of information and includes e-cise menus for each trimester.

QUESTION: For my female readers–What was your experience with workout out while pregnant?