Exercise During Pregnancy

This FAQ is designed for moms carrying a singleton baby. You will find questions and answers regarding weight gain during pregnancy, pregnancy exercise, core exercise during pregnancy, ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Pregnancy and Exercise recommendations, and much, much more! Breastfeeding and exercise, tummy exercises, postnatal exercise, low calorie diets etc. can be found on our Post-Pregnancy pages.

Pregnancy Exercise

*All of the information provided is for singleton pregnancies. All information is intended for normal, healthy pregnancies with no health issues. For detailed information on Pregnancy, Post-Pregnancy and Breastfeeding nutrition please check out our Moms Into Nutrition 40-page download (only $1.99)

Lindsay’s new book 9 Months of Pregnancy and the 5 Months to get your Body Back is due to be released April 2011 in bookstores worldwide!

Is it important to exercise if I am trying to conceive?

Yes, you should get your body used to exercise before dealing with pregnancy. Moms Into Fitness recommends starting an exercise program 6-8 weeks pre-pregnancy. The Pre-Pregnancy & 1st Trimester DVD is perfect for this time. You should also start building up your nutrient stores and targeting your ideal BMI/weight. You can scroll down to find your BMI, use your pre-pregnancy weight if you are already pregnant.

Find your BMI by using this calculation:

(Current Weight) x 703

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(Height in inches) x (Height in inches)

Can I exercise during pregnancy?

Yes, with your doctor’s permission. Please use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (scroll down to see this) to rate your perceived exertion (RPE), or how hard you are working out. The American Council on Exercise recommends pregnant women stay between a 5 & 8 on a 10-point scale. As you progress in your pregnancy it will be easier to achieve a higher RPE without as much work, which is why trimester-specific exercise is so impotant.

Rate of Perceived Exertion:

0 Feeling you get when sitting.

1 Activities like getting dressed.

2 Feeling you might get while doing laundry.

3 Taking a casual walk.

4 Walking briskly, but still maintaining conversation.

5 Feeling you get when rushing out the door.

6 Feeling you get when rushing up a flight of stairs.

7 Exercise while singing.

8 Slightly tiring exercise, but still speaking full sentences.

9 Feeling fatigue. Breathing hard.

10 All out exercise. Could not maintain for more than 30 seconds.

Also keep in mind heart rate monitors can be wrong during pregnancy. This is why it is wise to use your RPE.

But please keep in mind that there is no “1 size fits all” exercise for pregnant women. Remember to take it at your own pace and NEVER get to fatigue. If you don’t know what is too much or too little please check out Lindsay’s Pregnancy DVDs.

And the general rule is not to do more than you did before you were pregnant, especially after the 20 week mark.

If you find that any exercise creates a very tired feeling cut down the time, frequency or intensity.

Stop exercising if any of these symptoms occur and seek your doctor immediately:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • pre-term labor
  • decreased fetal movement
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • calf pain or swelling
  • muscle weakness
  • discomfort
  • amniotic fluid leakage

Remember you should stop exercising when fatigued and not exercise to exhaustion. Fatigue should not even be a part of your vocabulary while you are pregnant! Keep in mind Moms Into Fitness® is here to guide you through these 9 months, but please listen to your body and use the modifications.

Can I exercise during Pregnancy if I haven’t exercised before?

A 2002 study by ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,) which was reaffirmed in 2009, states that previously inactive women should be evaluated before recommendations for exercise are made. So make sure you get your physician’s recommendations before embarking on an exercise program during pregnancy.

What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?

There are plenty of reasons and you will feel the benefits!

  1. You will have a healthier placenta, which is vital to your baby.
  2. Quicker return to pre-pregnancy weight.
  3. You will feel better!
  4. Improve recovery time, cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.
  5. Relieve yourself of common pregnancy complaints: constipation, swelling, cramps, nausea, varicose veins, insomnia, fatigue, back pain, and urinary incontinence.
  6. Improve energy levels, mood and circulation.

Can I workout on my back (supine position) during pregnancy?

ACOG recommends that you do not lie on your back after the 4th month. Moms Into Fitness® products follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines.

Can I do abdominal (abs) work during pregnancy?

This is a question you will have to have answered by your doctor after the first trimester. The Moms Into Fitness series provides core (abs and back) exercises in a safe position for you and the baby during the second and third trimesters. These specific prenatal core exercises are very beneficial to your body both during and after pregnancy.

How often should I workout?

Try to workout at least 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes. Toning should be done every other day. Add some prenatal yoga for relaxation. Ideally you should do some form of exercise most days of the week.

How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

The Institute of Medicine released new Pregnancy Weight Guidelines in 2009. You will need to know your BMI to see what range you fall in. You can calculate your BMI by using the formula above and entering your pre-pregnancy weight.

  • Underweight (BMI < 18.5) gain 28-40 lbs.
  • Normal Weight (BMI 18.5-24.9) gain 25-35 lbs.
  • Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) gain 15-25 lbs.
  • Obese (BMI > 30) gain 11-20 lbs.

And don’t worry your weight gain is more than just baby! It includes increased blood volume, the placenta, amniotic fluid and more.

Pregnancy Nutrition?

Your body needs approximately 80,000 total calories to support a pregnancy. This breaks down to an average of 300 calories a day coming from all food groups to give you the variety of nutrients you need. The most recent research indicates you do not need to add many calories in the first trimester, but add 400 calories to both your 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

If at any point you are gaining too much weight, do not try to lose the weight, but modify your caloric intake to slow the weight gain. You can check out your specific nutritional needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also check out the Moms Into Nutrition 40-page download (only $1.99)

Use of Heart Rate Monitors During Pregnancy?

Please click here.

Lindsey Brin
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