Anytime you Google pregnancy, you come across a million pregnancy myths busted. Especially regarding exercise during pregnancy or a fit pregnancy.
So let’s go through 8 of the most common pregnancy symptom myths. I grabbed some info from my book How to Exercise When You’re Expecting so we can bust out some facts and myths.
#1 – I can still do my intense workouts since I did them before I was pregnant. True & False.
This one is up for debate. ACSM does not recommend heavy lifting or any exercise that causes strain, while moderate to hard is quite safe for a woman who is accustomed to this level of exercise. Overall Exercise should not exceed pre-pregnancy levels.
#2 – You are Eating for Two. False.
During the first three months you don’t need to increase your calorie intake, but you need to focus on consuming healthy foods to meet your nutrient needs. The goal is to gain 2-6 pounds. *Note these are general guidelines. Morning sickness, expanding blood volume, among other things can play a huge role. So discuss these guidelines with your doctor.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters you should gain approximately ½ -1 pound per week, keeping your weight on a steady increase. This means increasing your caloric intake by 300-400 calories per day (more if you are exercising). You can add this amount with 1 cup of milk and half a peanut butter sandwich.
Increasing your calories can be easier if you split them up into small, frequent meals throughout the day. You should aim to eat 5 or 6 meals that are approximately 350-450 calories per meal. For more information and meal suggestions see our Nutrition Plan for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding.
#3 – If I haven’t exercised before I shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy. False.
Make sure you get your physician’s recommendations before embarking on an exercise program during pregnancy. It has been deemed safe as long as you start out slowly. If you haven’t been exercising start with 15 minutes 3-4x/week. Usually a mild routine of walking or swimming is best.
#4 – I should use a Heart Rate Monitor. False
Most of the time this is not true, unless your doctor recommends it. ACOG originally printed exercise guidelines that said you should not elevate your heart rate above 140 BPM. But recently research shows your intensity should be regulated by how hard you believe you are working. The RPE scale is recommend.
Check out the RPE Scale here.
#5 – Hot Yoga, HIIT and Cross Fit training are perfectly safe. True/False
For a full guide on what is safe and what is not safe during pregnancy exercise go here how mush is too much during pregnancy
#6 – Exercise makes my Varicose Veins look worse. False
You may notice your varicose veins are darker during exercise but that is because the blood is flowing. Although you may think the opposite is true, the blood pumping helps! Of course if you have large varicose veins or any reason for concern check with your OB.
#7 – A C-Section can ruin my core muscles. False
Oh this subject can be pretty lengthy. Does a c-section cut through the muscles? How should I train after a c-section? A doctor does not cut through the abdominal muscles to reach the baby. The only muscle that is cut is the uterus.
#8 – I should not do core exercises during pregnancy. False
You can do core exercises while pregnant. And you should! But ACOG does not recommend you spend much time lying on your back (it adds pressure to the major vein that returns blood back to the heart). Your core exercise is going to be different, especially if you have diastasis recti (an abdominal separation).