A few clients recently shared me that they are expecting again. These mamas are regulars in AMC’s Fit & Fab Small Group Postnatal training sessions. The questions they have asked are very common and important as they have concerns about how their exercise routines will effect their baby. I’m sharing our dialogue to help you navigate your own concerns:
Q: I’m about 6 weeks pregnant, so it’s very early. I have some questions as I re-think my exercise routine. When does it make sense to switch to AMC’s prenatal classes? I’m guessing part of this depends on how I’ve been feeling, which is pretty well for the most part. I find that I tire more easily and I’ve had some on-and-off nausea. I’m also not sure what is safe and recommended to do at this point – I didn’t really exercise when I was pregnant with my daughter, so this is new territory for me.
A: You could stay in current program for as long as you feel comfortable. The most important element is that you continue to exercise. You’ve been exercising consistently with AMC for the last year—given you have a healthy pregnancy—realistically, you could do continue these workouts into your 2nd trimester. It’s important for YOU to feel comfortable with your exercise routine.
Studies have shown that expecting women can exercise safely at a moderate-to-high intensity. And ACOG guidelines recommend pregnant women exercise 30 minute at moderate intensity, MOST days of the week. I will provide appropriate modifications for your body’s specific needs if you prefer to stay with postnatal training for the next couple of months.
In AMC’s prenatal training program, women are performing similar exercises as the postnatal programming as they are relatable for increasing overall strength. Prenatal mamas tend to move through the exercises at a slower pace and do not include plyometrics (high impact exercises such as double jump squats, jumping lunges, burpees, etc). And of course there are more specific prenatal exercises that will enhance core strength, such as deep belly breaths, and more stabilization/balance exercises that are effective for each trimester.
You may find over the next few weeks that you will begin to feel your heart rate elevate quicker than usual, and that’s due to physiological changes in your body— such as increase in blood volume. It’s a normal side effect of early pregnancy, and obviously more pronounced/expected in 2nd and 3rd trimester when a bigger baby is taking up space inside your torso and compressing your organs.
“I’ve noticed that my heart rate elevates quicker already.”
Q: What are some warning signs that I should slow down?
A: Great question! With your doctor’s approval, you could continue all your regular workouts, including running, for as long as its comfortable for you.
Two signs to slow down your activity during pregnancy
- The best way to monitor your intensity is with rate of perceived exertion (RPE) or the talk test. On a scale 1-10, your RPE could reach up to a 7-8 on the RPE scale. Or simply use the talk test to guide you. You should be able to speak a sentence while working out, and it would be okay if it were a labored sentence…you’re still talking.
- If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This may be due from low blood sugar levels, or you have quickly changed positions (such as going from a plank to standing up, or doing a walk-out plank where your head is physically lower than your heart). The best way to prevent lightheadedness is to eat a small snack 30-45 minutes before a workout—a banana, handful of raisins, piece of fruit would do the trick, ideally 100 calories or so. A snack will keep your sugars regulated—also be sure to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.
Assuming you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, your body and growing baby will continue to reap the benefits from your activity.
We now know through mounting research that exercise has many benefits for both mom and baby. ACOG recommends women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy. Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychologic well-being.
Active Moms’ Club can help guide you through a safe and effective exercise routine so that you are physically prepared for labor and delivery.
If you are expecting, you are invited to take a FREE, live-streaming, introductory prenatal training session so that you can experience a professionally guided workout for yourself. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
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