Can you workout when pregnant?
As long as you have a low-risk pregnancy with no contraindications, the answer is YES.
Should you workout when pregnant even if you were not super active before your pregnancy? Again – YES. Should you adapt your workout? YES YES and YES!
This article is here to help you find your own workout and burst a few myths about working out while pregnant. There are definitely a few things to watch out for but there are plenty of ways to workout safely so no excuses to become a couch potato for 9 months!
1.KEEP IT LOW (IMPACT)
As you are getting heavier quite quickly, you are putting more pressure on your bones and joints on a daily basis. Even if your joints will bite the bullet and do a great job at supporting your “extra load” you shouldn’t push your bones and joints too much either!
High impact sports like jumping or boxing are definitely a No-go during your pregnancy as you want to avoid that extra impact / pressure on your skeleton.
Treat your body nicely and elevate the pressure with mat exercises or water exercises. The water buoyancy will support the baby’s weight to help you exercise freely and safely during your pregnancy. Yay!
2.DON’T BREAK YOUR HEART (RATE)
Your Doc might have told you this: it is absolutely normal to have a higher heart rate while pregnant. Your heart is busy pumping more blood (up to 50% more than pre-pregnancy!) so that will naturally elevate your heart rate.
You might have heard about a limit of 140 beats per minute while exercising, but your heart rate will always depend on your genetics, your age and your fitness level so this limit is not too accurate.
It’s a lot better to use your “perceived exertion” rate, which is basically how hard the workout feels while you are doing it. You want to keep it in a moderate to challenging rate (our famous 65%-75%) without being breathless, unable to speak.
So don’t overthink it. Listen to your body and if you are still worried about your heart rate, good news: average heart rates are estimated 10-15 beats lower per minute during water exercise than for the same effort done on land – you know what to do…get in the water!
3.KEEP IT COOL
In Singapore, overheating is a major issue. I’m not pregnant (atm) and I sweat like a pig every time I WALK outside… While pregnant your body temperature is higher than usual (thanks to the extra work you are doing creating a human being!) which means you can overheat very easily.
It is a vicious circle, as you are getting hotter, your body uses more energy to keep your baby’s body cool and that creates more heat. Over heating should be taken seriously as it can lead to nausea, fainting, painful cramps and it can even put your baby’s life in danger!
Avoid any exercise during the hottest hours of the day and workout in an air-conditioned room or in the water. Once again this wonderful element will keep you cool and big plus, you can be outdoors in Singapore without worrying of over heating. It’s worth giving it a try!
4.DO NOT OVERSTRETCH
How can we overstretch? Without getting in too much detail, there is a hormone produced by your placenta during your pregnancy called Relaxin.
Relaxin does an amazing job: It allows your ligaments to become lax (think loose) to facilitate baby’s path during delivery. Relaxin helps with the opening of the hips during labour. However, this hormone doesn’t only affect ligaments around your pelvis and hips – it affects EVERY PART of your body– which means you can actually overstretch when pregnant as your ligaments are loose.
Should we ditch stretching all together then?
No, stretching is a great way to relieve tensions. It can ease aches and cramps (and we need these to go away). However you should modify your stretches during your pregnancy to avoid injuries.
Quick tips: Move slowly, do not force a stretch, avoid lying on your back or being head down, and be careful with any stretches that use balance.
5.TAKE IT SLOW(ER)
I hear this a lot “ But I am not sick!” Correct, but your body is super busy right now so do not exert it too much.
Adapt your pre-pregnancy workouts and most of all LISTEN to your body. Do not try to compete with your pre-pregnancy pace / exercise regime. This is not the time to break records!
Right now you just need to keep moving!
Do not blame yourself for being slower or more sluggish while pregnant as it happens to everyone. Just take it step by step, there will be good fitness days and not so good ones but stay motivated, you are doing a great thing for you and your baby!
In a nutshell, it is super important to be active during your pregnancy.
You can always adapt your workout, take it slower or bring it to the water if you feel like it – there are so many ways to keep fit I’m sure you will find one you love!
Working out while pregnant is not only about keeping fit and managing weight gain, it is also good for your own sanity…
After an effort your brain releases dopamine (the happy hormone) that makes you feel awesome and helps with mood swings (what mood swings??). Also, it forces you listen to your body a bit more which helps understanding and embracing it while it changes.
All pregnancies are different. Always ask for your Doc’s green light before you start ANY exercise. If you are able to workout, make it fun, make it part of your “me” time!