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Working Out During Pregnancy: Myths Vs. Facts

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Working Out During Pregnancy: Myths Vs. Facts

Discovering you are pregnant can be an exciting time, but it can also be very overwhelming as you try to determine what changes you need to make in order to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. One of the things you may be wondering about is whether or not to exercise during pregnancy, and what is safe and what is not.

According to the National Institute of Health, pregnant women should exercise for 30 minutes a day for optimal well being. If you are not sure where to begin, or whether or not continue with your favorite workout, then we have broken it down for you. Just remember to check with your healthcare provider before you begin.

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1. I should not start a new exercise routine during pregnancy.

In most cases, it is perfectly safe for women to begin an exercise routine while pregnant. Of course, you should check with your health care provider to rule out any potential problems, but unless your pregnancy is considered high risk, you should be in the clear. Remember, even starting a simple walking routine provides a great deal of benefits.

2. I should give up running while I am pregnant.

If you were an avid runner before pregnancy, there is no reason to give it up now, assuming you have a healthy pregnancy. While you may need to make a few changes to your regular routine to ensure safety, running still provides a great and efficient workout.

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3. I should not exercise during pregnancy because it can harm my baby.

Many women are concerned that working out could be harmful to their unborn baby. While it is true that you need to be mindful of both your breathing and your body temperature, many forms of exercise are totally OK. The important thing is to not overexert yourself. If you are uncertain about whether or not a particular form of exercise is safe, check with your health care provider.

4. I should not do any abdominal exercises during pregnancy.

While it may seem counterintuitive to work on your abdominal muscles while pregnant, it is actually a good idea. Keeping your core strong during pregnancy will help you both during and after childbirth. You should, however, avoid doing any exercises in late pregnancy that require you to lie flat on your back as these types of exercises are not safe while pregnant.

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5. I should only do very “light” workouts so I don’t deprive my baby of nutrients and oxygen.

In most cases, you can continue with your usual workout routine while pregnant. You will most likely find that as your body changes so will your level of activity, and paying attention to how you are feeling during an exercise routine is critical. Your growing baby will continue to get everything it needs from you, and the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise plan will be advantageous to both of you.

6. I should be concerned if I have any pain while exercising during pregnancy.

Experiencing pain during pregnancy can be alarming at any time. Pain during pregnancy is not uncommon, though, and is not always a reason for concern. If you experience pain while working out, it may simply be a typical discomfort. However, if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, or nausea, then it is important that you contact your doctor or midwife as this could indicate something more serious.

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7. I should be concerned about injuring myself while working out during pregnancy because it can be unsafe.

With all of the changes your body is going through while pregnant, there are some exercises you should avoid. Because your sense of balance is off during pregnancy, you should avoid any exercises that require large or sudden movements. Your joints loosen during pregnancy, so you should make sure you are not over-extending in any movements. Lastly, any high impact sport or physical activity that could result in forceful contact should  be avoided.

8. I should pay close attention to my heart rate when I exercise during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your heart rate automatically increases. With this in mind, it makes sense that you should pay attention to your heart rate when working out during pregnancy. However, the intensity of your workout is what really matters. According to Dr. Roger W. Harms at the Mayo Clinic, pacing yourself and being able to carry on a conversation during your workout, are the best indicators of whether you are overdoing it or not. If you cannot easily talk, and are having shortness of breath, then you should consider slowing down.

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Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamjonfuller/ via flickr.com

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