How much is too much – cont’d

How much is too much during pregnancy continued here:

Every pregnancy is different and every individual is different.  After working with Dr. Hopkins (co-author of the 2015 ACOG guidelines) and developing a Pre & Postnatal Course, I have listed below some facts about intense exercise.

#1 – If you refer to the ACOG CO650 it mentions the Department of Health and Human Services says pregnant women who engage in consistent vigorous-intensity aerobic capacity (e.g. running) can continue as long as discussed with a healthcare provider and adjusted over time.

#2 – High demands in strength training can induce the valsalva maneuver (holding your breath during the exertion phase) and cause intra-abdominal pressure.  Also, fast or increased strength training can pose danger to the belly with fast moving weights.  It is better to use higher repetitions than increased weights.

#3 – Upper limits have not been tested.  No research shows the upper limits of prenatal exercise. This could be due to a lack of participants, safety and/or it’s hard to test differing upper limits.  A lot of research is done with cardiovascular exercises like walking, cycling and running.  Quantifying aerobic activities like this is easier than quantifying a Cross Fit pregnant workout.

#4 – Athletes can push their limits of pain and intensity. For example, a woman feels an RPE of 14 while doing intense exercise.  But maybe as an athlete they have “turned off” their guide, as they are used to pushing through fatigue or finishing the repetitions.

#5 – Hot Yoga and Hot Pilates are not recommended by ACOG.



You can also read ACOG’s most recent guidelines on exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period ACOG Committee Opinion 650


Takeaway: The “intensity” of an exercise program is based on various factors, including your exercise history and general health. You should always consult with your OB.

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