The Myths and Facts of Prenatal Fitness

MYTH: You shouldn't workout during pregnancy if you were not previously engaged in an exercise program prior to becoming pregnant

  • ACSM states a healthy woman may continue with her regular exercise regimen or begin a new program during pregnancy.
  • If you have not exercised prior, start slow and build up gradually.
  • Consistency is most important.

FACT: Exercise may prevent gestational diabetes

  • Exercise has an insulin like effect on the muscles causing blood sugar levels to drop.
  • 3-5% of pregnant women will get Gestational Diabetes.
  • REGULAR exercise is one of the most important factors in prevention!
  • Small meals, include protein, reduce sugars.

MYTH: You should cut back exercise in the last trimester

  • You might cut down the intensity, but you should remain consistent.
  • It's important to continue at a similar RPE throughout the pregnancy.

MYTH: Pregnant women should not exercise more than three times per week

  • ACOG recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, with doctor approval.
  • ACSM recommends 5 or more days per week.

MYTH: You must keep your Heart Rate under 140 bpm (beats per minute)

  • This is not a recommendation on the current guidelines.
  • This old recommendation was removed as a guideline in 1994.
  • Use Rate of Perceived Exertion / Modified Borg Scale.
  • ACOG recommends mild to moderate workout.

FACT: With a few exceptions, you can participate in any sports while pregnant that you did before

  • You can continue past sports if you listen to your body.
  • Avoid contact sports.
  • Avoid exercises with risk of falling.
  • Non-weight bearing exercise is likely to be more comfortable.

MYTH: Kegels are not necessary if you are going to have a Cesarean

  • Most pelvic floor damage is caused during pregnancy.
  • Cesarean patients still complain of urinary incontinence.

FACT: Absolute Reasons to NOT Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Multiple gestation at risk of premature labor
  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • Placenta previa after 28 weeks of gestation
  • Premature labor during current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy induced hypertension

FACT: Warning Signs to Stop Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Bleeding
  • Dyspnea (labored respiration) prior to exertion
  • Premature labor
  • Dizziness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Feeling unusually tired
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Amniotic fluid leakage