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3 signs you're overdoing it in your pregnancy workouts

Worried you’re pushing yourself too hard in your prenatal workouts?

Maybe your doctor told you that your heart rate needs to stay under a certain number or you shouldn’t lift a certain amount of weight?

This is a common concern I hear from people and I get it…there’s so much conflicting information out there and a lot of it is actually outdated! So today I’m going to tell you exactly what signs to look for that indicate you might be overdoing it in your workouts so that you can ensure you’re keeping yourself and your baby safe!

If we are meeting for the first time - Hi! Welcome to Vibrant Mama Wellness! My name is Megan, and I am a pre and postnatal personal trainer. I am certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, with a specialization in pre+postnatal fitness through Pronatal fitness. I am a mom to a toddler, and pregnant with my second baby!

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. This blog post is based on my own research and experience - please consult a medical professional before starting or making any changes to your exercise program).

So you’ve gotten cleared by your doctor to workout, and they basically say “don’t do anything your body isn’t used to” and send you on your way. Maybe they give you some vague guidelines to follow. And you walk out of the office feeling MORE confused than you did before!

Sound familiar?

Here’s the facts: working out during pregnancy has a slew of benefits including decreasing low back and pelvic pain, easing constipation, reducing the risk of intervention during birth, strengthening your heart and blood vessels, and even helping to make your postpartum recovery easier.

BUT - we do have to be smart about it.

First of all, I want you to download my FREE Prenatal Workout and Nutrition Cheat Sheet if you haven’t already because we go in-depth into the vague heart rate limit and weight lifting recommendations (spoiler alert: they’re myths).

Second of all, I want you to get in tune with your body.

I know what you’re thinking….”Okay, Megan, what the heck does this mean?!”

Here are 3 things I want you to pay close attention to:

  1. How hard are you breathing during your workouts? Are you able to maintain a conversation with a friend while you’re doing your squats or are you gasping for air? If it’s the latter, that’s a sign that you’re doing too much. Decrease your weight or reps so that you can comfortably carry on a conversation.

  2. Rate how hard you’re working on a scale from 1-10 during your workout. Looking at your heart rate during pregnancy is not reliable because of the increased blood volume. This makes each person's heart rate pretty variable, therefore having a general recommendation doesn’t work. Instead, we want to use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). This is the most effective way to quantify intensity based on how you feel. How this works is by scoring how hard you’re working on a scale of 1-10. 1 would be how it feels to be at rest and 10 would be an all-out sprint. For pregnancy, you want to fall somewhere between 4-7.

  3. Monitor for warning signs. Signs that indicate you should stop immediately and contact your doctor include: bleeding from the vagina, feeling dizzy or faint, shortness of breath before starting exercise, chest pain, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, regular and painful contractions of the uterus, fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina.

You know your body best, so if a workout or exercise feels too hard, it probably is. Pregnancy is not the time you want to be pushing to your limits or focusing on building muscle or losing weight. The overall goals are to support your body throughout your pregnancy, prepare for birth, and help with postpartum recovery! This can absolutely be done in a safe and effective way that will benefit you so much in your motherhood journey!

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Disclaimer: This blog does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

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