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 9 of the most common pregnancy symptom myths.
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. Read more about Eating the Right Foods for Pregnancy.
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.
Most of the time this is not true, unless your doctor recommends it or you are a pregnant athlete. ACOG originally printed exercise guidelines in 1985 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. Read more about intensity during pregnancy.
For a full guide on what is safe and what is not safe during pregnancy exercise go here how much is too much during pregnancy
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.
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. Let’s talk more about C-Sections!
You can do core exercises while pregnant. And you should! 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).
It is important that you focus on strengthening the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. About 85% of us don’t know how to activate this important muscle. And it’s important that you activate this muscle during pregnancy. It’s the same musculature, you just have a baby underneath your muscles.
The transverse abdominis or the TA, is the deep abdominal that runs under the rectus abdominis, commonly known as the six pack muscle. They are the most important of the muscle groups of the abdomen. The pelvic floor and TA keep your belly from dropping to your toes, they also help in pushing out a baby! The transverse abdominal muscle wraps around the torso from front to back and the muscle fibers of the TA run horizontally, similar to a corset.
So what are some easy ways to work the transverse abdominis and what benefits can you expect to get from this muscle? For starters, it can help to improve your posture, help to decrease lower back issues, as well as improve your physique.
Well, first of all, “intense” is a relative term. You might be someone who never exercised regularly before getting pregnant, or might be a marathon runner; or any type of athlete in between. The “intensity” of a prenatal fitness plan is going to depend on a number of factors, including your prior experience with exercise, health history, the status of the pregnancy, and your own personal tolerance for exertion. All women who have become pregnant should consult their doctor regarding the exercise regimen best suited for them.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, intensity should be 60-90% of maximal heart rate or 50-80% of either maximal oxygen uptake or heart rate reserve. Women who did not exercise regularly before they became pregnant should abide by the lower end of these ranges, and women who are continuing a consistent exercise program should strive for the upper end of these ranges. Both ACOG and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggest using “rate of perceived exertion” (RPE) instead. Excessive elevation of maternal temperature is one of the main reasons that health experts have devised guidelines for how intensely and how long a woman should exercise when she is pregnant. The risk of overheating is avoided by having pregnant women exercise in a climate-controlled environment during high heat and humid conditions.
Ultimately, the most common concern amongst pregnant women is whether exercising will induce a miscarriage. Exercise actually soothes many of the aches and annoyances of the first trimester, and continuing to exercise throughout the pregnancy can only add benefits to the mother and her baby.
Takeaway: The “intensity” of an exercise program is based on various factors, including your exercise history and general health. All pregnant women should ask their doctors what kind of plan would work best for them. Both ACOG and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggest using “rate of perceived exertion” (RPE) to identify the extent of a pregnant woman’s exertion. While the intensity of a woman’s exercise will not induce a miscarriage, you should reduce your chances of overheating by exercising in a climate-controlled environment, particularly during the first trimester.
Research shows light to moderate exercise does not increase risk of miscarriage, and may perhaps decrease the risk.
Clapp, J.F., 3rd, and Catherine Cram. Exercising through Your Pregnancy, Second Edition, 2012.
Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, Inc.
Bell, O’Neill, and Dip qtd. in Hyatt and Cram
Clapp, J.F., 3rd. Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, 2002. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books.