The Truth About Pregnancy and Exercise
Are you getting enough exercise? Although most of us struggle to get off the couch, there are actually some pregnant women out there who are questioning if they’re doing too much. You read it right! Check out one of my subscriber questions below:
Hi Michelle, I am fifteen weeks pregnant and still going to the gym three to four times a week—do you think this is safe? I usually spend 20 to 30 minutes fast walking on the treadmill, then 15 to 20 minutes on the exercise bike. I then do some weight machines for my inner and outer thighs and also my legs. I finish off my workout with a swim, usually 15 to 25 lengths. Before becoming pregnant, I was a regular at the gym and haven’t started any new exercises. Please help!
Wow! That’s a lot of exercise—way to go for having the energy! First of all, I’m glad that you were doing this workout routine pre-pregnancy because now is definitely not the time to start something new. If, however, you’re concerned about over-exercising, I think it would be a good idea to first check in with your doctor to make sure everything is okay with baby and that you do not have any risk factors that would indicate you need to slow down.
As for your exercise routine, it does sound like a lot to me, but I don’t know what intensity level you’re working at, which is a crucial factor! In general, you should really aim to be working at a moderate intensity level at least twice a week (three times would be ideal!).
To calculate your intensity level, measure your heart rate by lightly pressing your index and middle finger on your carotid artery (that’s the big vein on the side of your neck). Do not cross your hand over to the other side of your throat! Aim for working between 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
The moral of the story is …
Pregnancy is not the time to do a heavy workout, get in shape, or increase your strength, stamina, or endurance. Rather, it is a time to maintain your existing fitness level.
For most women, pregnancy can be a scary time of change. We put on 30 or more pounds (14+ kg), our shape changes, we get cellulite, our stamina decreases, and our fatigue increases. I know it’s not easy but please don’t worry. You will get your body back post-delivery without having to spend tons of time in the gym.
If you eat right and stay active, you will gain the right amount of weight for your body. You must remember that weight gain during pregnancy is a good thing and is necessary for both you and your baby’s health—what you need to concentrate on doing now is taking good care of yourself so that you don’t have trouble losing it afterwards.