There are a slew of myths and misconceptions regarding exercise for expecting mothers.
First and most obvious is that you should never allow your heart rate to exceed 130bpm. Truth is, both resting and max heart rate tend to vary wildly from person to person, and as such, there is no cookie-cutter rule one should follow when it comes to monitoring heart rate while pregnant. It’s better to estimate based on perceived level exertion, and listen to your body. During the first-trimester, the biggest key is to not push things to the limit, and keep heart rate a bit on the lower side while exercising.
We’ve also been told that if you weren’t exercising regularly before getting pregnant, now is not the time to start. Also false. It’s never too late to begin a light exercise program, even after finding out you are expecting. Once again, it’s best to ease into a program, be smart, and listen to the feedback that your body gives you. But if you do things properly and don’t push the envelope right out of the gate, a light exercise program can actually work wonders for keeping you fit and healthy through the duration of your pregnancy.
Many expecting mothers are cautioned against exercise because it can “make you more tired”. Complete nonsense, as exercise has been proven time and time again to increase overall energy levels, as well as help you sleep better.
We’ve heard that “running will shake the baby”. Nope. Not happening.
How about abdominal work? Unsafe, right? Well, certain exercises may be less efficient or not the greatest choice while pregnant, as the abdominal wall will begin to stretch and separate at the linea alba. But there is no need to completely stop training those muscles—having a strong core will help to reduce back pain during this time.
Finally, we’ve been told that strength training while pregnant is unsafe. Truth is, done properly and with the necessary modifications, strength training will help support a strong skeletal and muscular system, which has been show to help with a more efficient labor.
So that idea that you shouldn’t exercise while pregnant? Pure myth. Lucky for you, myth busted!
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