Received comments about your fit pregnancy? Or negative opinions during pregnancy workouts? Read on to see why exercise during pregnancy isn’t selfish
Have you received negative comments about exercising during your pregnancy?
From your mother-in-law’s disapproving looks and recommendations to ‘take it easy’,your fitness instructor who is unsure about safe pregnancy exercise or a passer-by commenting that running during pregnancy is ‘just selfish’. Partners can be concerned about whether it’s ‘good for the baby’ and even health professionals often err on the side of caution when it comes to giving advice about pregnancy exercise. None of this is helpful if regular, sweat-generating exercise is fundamanetal to your happiness and well-being!
We’ll put the record straight with our top 10 pregnancy exercise myth busters!
‘Exercise during pregnancy is selfish’
Wrong! It’s good for you and good for your baby, offering a raft of benefits from improving your circulation and easing heartburn to minimising the risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Exercise improves your mood and helps combat stress and anxiety – if exercise makes you happy that’s all the more reason to keep on enjoying it!
‘The gym is no place for a pregnant woman’
Wrong! Working out in the gym is a great way to exercise during pregnancy. Listen to your body and adapt your exercise routine as your bump gets bigger but controlled weight lifting can be a safe, suitable exercise for expectant Mammas. Go for more reps, lighter weights and aim to maintain rather than improve your fitness.
‘You definitely can’t run when you’re pregnant!’
Wrong again! If you love running, there’s no reason to stop – running when pregnant is a fantastic and beneficial cardio exercise. Just not so far and not so fast – remember the ‘talk test’ – you should still be able to hold a conversation.
‘You can’t exercise your abs when you’re pregnant’
Wrong! Keeping your core muscles strong during pregnancy can help to prevent diastasis recti and will help during labour too. Avoid exercise routines that involve lying on your back but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t work on your core muscles right throughout your pregnancy.
‘You’ll wear yourself out with all that exercise – you need to rest!’
Continuing to workout when pregnant will improve your blood flow, increase your supplies of oxygen and IMPROVE your energy levels – not reduce them! Listen to your body and slow down if and when you need to – which for some women means easing up in their third trimester and for others it can be a final spinning class on their due date.
‘Exercising during pregnancy will harm your baby….and what if you fall over?’
Your womb is a secure place, tucked in between your hips and supported by your pelvic bones. Your baby is comfortably cushioned by the amniotic fluid, protected by the placenta and the thickened wall of your uterus. Be aware of your changing body shape and the difference to your centre of gravity and you are no more likely to fall over than you would normally.
‘Bouncing around like that will upset your baby’
Research has shown that foetal stress levels are actually LOWER for women who exercise during pregnancy – it seems that increased movements are soothing for baby. And regular pregnancy yoga demonstrably lowers your blood pressure too.
‘Tuck in – you’re eating for two!’
Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much – it’s easy to pile on the pounds with a cake for you and one for the baby! You won’t need more than around 300 extra calories per day …and only in the 3rd trimester. Good nutrition and regular exercise during pregnancy will help you manage a healthy weight gain and make it easier to lose any excess weight after your baby is born too.
‘You need to keep your heartbeat down when you’re pregnant’
Lots of people will tell you that you should keep your heartbeat below 140 when pregnant. The amount of blood you have increases by up to 50% during pregnancy and your heart has to work harder to push all that blood around your system, including circulating it through your placenta. But that gives you MORE reason to keep your heart strong and working well. There isn’t a precise heart beat rate during pregnancy that works for everyone – we’re all different. Just don’t push yourself so hard and make sure you can carry on a conversation.
Exercising during pregnancy will make your baby under-weight at birth’
Studies have shown babies born to exercising mothers have similar head dimensions and length as babies born to more sedentary mothers – but can weigh slightly less. Which basically means they’re the same size but less chubby. Not under-weight….just leaner.
Healthy active Mammas are more likely to raise healthy families – and who doesn’t want to be a good role model for their children? With so much concern around childhood obesity and lack of exercise amongst children of all ages be proud to set a good example and encourage your family to stay fit. Even if you’ve never exercised at all there’s no reason why pregnancy should deter you from starting – and if you already exercise regularly, don’t let naysayers put you off!
Stay supported, look good and feel great – wearing well-designed maternity fitnesswear will improve your confidence and increase your motivation.