Working Out and Pregnancy: The Facts
So…what’s the deal with working out while pregnant? There are a lot of myths about whether it’s safe to exercise when you’re expecting, but research has found exercising during pregnancy reduces depression, lowers odds of delivery complications, and decreases the risk of chronic disease for both mother and child.
But since many moms-to-be are still nervous about exercising, we sat down with Andy Franco, In-Shape’s Product Manager of Group Training, for her top 5 tips for working out while pregnant.
1. First things first: talk to your doctor.
Your body changes a lot during pregnancy: joints become more flexible, your hips shift, and your center of gravity changes due to the extra weight at the front of your body. Whether you were training every day before your pregnancy, never worked out, or landed somewhere in between, please talk to your doctor to learn what’s right for your body.
2. This isn’t about weight management.
Unless instructed by your doctor, pregnancy isn’t the time to stress about calorie restriction or weight loss programs. You need calories to help your baby develop, so make sure you’re eating enough to balance your level of exercise.
3. Maintain your pre-pregnancy activity level.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: maintain the activity level your body is already used to. If you’re an avid runner, you can likely keep your routine (although you may find it harder to perform your usual mile time—just maintain a pace that feels comfortable). Andy doesn’t advise starting a new plan or slowing down completely once you find out you’re pregnant—try to keep up your previous intensity level.
4. Avoid high-intensity workouts and contact sports.
During pregnancy, avoid any activity where falling or collision is likely (this isn’t the best time to take up hockey, for example). It’s also better to avoid activities that require extensive jumping or exercising to the point of exhaustion.
5. Find workouts that feel good
As long as you get the OK from your doctor, swimming, walking, and taking Aqua, Zumba® or yoga classes are great ways to exercise during pregnancy. Andy suggests full-body workouts that minimize impact and are based on activities you already enjoy. “Your baby feels what you feel—so do exercises that let you have fun!”
Andy’s final tip? Don’t feel too intimidated. “The human body is resilient. If your doctor encourages exercise, do it! You’re keeping yourself—and your baby—healthier.”
Keep an eye out for a spring launch of prenatal workouts on In-Shape’s digital platform.