Updated: May 23
There is a lot of fear-mongering when it comes to exercising during pregnancy. So many people are afraid of doing something to hurt their baby or hurt themselves, plus there is so much conflicting information out there! So today I want to debunk 4 common myths about working out during pregnancy so you feel empowered and unafraid when it comes to exercising!
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 of one, and became interested in pre + postnatal fitness as I was going through my own pregnancy journey!
(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).
Myth #1: “Don’t lift over 25lbs.”
This is a common misconception and one that doctors still sometimes say to patients. But I want you to think about a few different factors.
The first is that many pregnant people already have little ones at home. The average weight of a 3-year-old is about 30lbs. Does this mean that when you’re pregnant you can’t pick up your other children? No. The second thing to consider is that as a person progresses through pregnancy, they generally get heavier and weaker. Their center of gravity has shifted, and they’re just generally more prone to injury. Now let’s think back to that 3-year-old..if you’re at your weakest and most prone to injury in your third trimester, what might happen when you pick up your 3-year-old? You guessed it - you’re probably going to hurt yourself.
Instead, it is in a pregnant person's best interest to strengthen the body by increasing resistance. Now of course this needs to be done in a safe and progressive way, but this creates a solid foundation and allows the pregnant person to move about their daily life without worrying about getting injured. That is a huge win!!
Myth #2: “Don’t work your abs.”
Now while this is a misconception, there is some truth to it. Pregnant people need to be mindful of the types of ab exercises they are doing (i.e. crunches, sit ups, traditional planks, Russian twists, etc aren’t recommended) but they shouldn’t abandon ALL abdominal work.
The key to working your abs during pregnancy is to effectively activate the deep core muscles - a.k.a. The transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominis (TVA) lies behind the 6 pack muscles and acts as a corset to support your internal organs and the trunk. The best way to do this is by diaphragmatic breathing and thinking about zipping the abs in and up on the exhale breath (literally imagine a zipper running from your pubic bone to your sternum). These two things combined will help to engage the deep core!
Myth #3: “Don’t let your heart rate go over 140bpm.”
This advice is outdated and ACOG actually eliminated this guideline in 1994 and replaced it with the guideline of using rate of perceived exertion (RPE). RPE is basically listening to your body and gauging how you feel on a scale of 1-10 both during and after a workout. There is a lot of heart rate variability during pregnancy, so listening to your individual body and knowing your limits is best!
Myth #4: “Rest as much as possible.”
It seems like for a long time pregnancy was thought to be a fragile time and pregnant people were instructed to rest and take it easy as much as possible. But based on the first misconception of not lifting over 25lbs, we know this is false! Exercise has been shown to have so many benefits during pregnancy such as maintaining a healthy weight gain, increasing cardiovascular strength, lowering the risk for high blood pressure and interventions needed during birth as well as helping with postpartum recovery.
So there you have it! Four pregnancy myths debunked. Exercise is a wonderful tool to help you feel better both physically and mentally during pregnancy. The key is to do it safely and effectively! If you’re looking for guidance and want to take all the guesswork out of your pregnancy routine, grab my Ultimate Guide to Prenatal Fitness or schedule a consultation call!
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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.