When I found myself pregnant again, I was so excited…but for me, life continued as before. I woke up at 5:30am for bootcamp, I ran, I taught kickboxing, I took spin classes, I rode my bike, I played with my kids & hubby and I ate a healthy diet. I found out I was pregnant. I did not get a Get Out Of Jail Free card to stop moving, put my feet up and snack all day.
I have been working as a personal trainer with moms now for several years. It is my passion and one of my purposes here on earth to educate women about how to be strong and fit at any stage of their life. Most people who hire me are already fit and want to maintain it, or they were once fit, but after kids their bodies are different. Nevertheless, I still have an encounter with a mom who asks me if it is safe to exercise and strength train while they are pregnant. If you are a healthy mom with a healthy pregnancy – YES! Not only is it safe, it is necessary!
One of the road bumps I face is outdated advice or lack of information to mothers by their OB’s. This was one of the most shocking realities for me as I built my business. Moms everywhere are told outdated recommendations that were never meant to be ‘Rules’, but rather general recommendations for pregnant women. Back in the 1990’s, based on the limited research at the time, the recommendations were for pregnant women’s heart rate to not exceed 140 bpm (beats per minute), to limit their exercise duration to 15 minutes and to not lift more that 5lbs. You are reassured that your pregnancy can be tiring and you should rest and enjoy it.
This is what I was told…then I gained 40lbs during my first pregnancy! That may not be a number that shocks many of you, but unless your child weighs 15lbs at birth, it was too much. I enjoyed being pregnant and ate healthy, but just ate too much and didn’t move around enough.
The Breakdown of what everything weighs: (WebMD)
Baby: 8 pounds
Placenta: 2-3 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
Breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
Blood supply: 4 pounds
Stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding: 5-9 pounds
Larger uterus: 2-5 pounds
Total: 25-35 pounds
*This chart is for a normal pregnancy for a mom that was at a healthy weight at conception. If a mom is under weight, she should gain 30-40lbs. If a mom is overweight, she should gain 15-25lbs.
A problem that I am seeing now with a lot of moms is that the doctor who is monitoring their pregnancy is not having the heart-to-heart discussion on weight gain. They are watching for health concerns, but gaining too much weight during a pregnancy IS A HEALTH CONCERN! It can cause complications with the mom and/or pregnancy, it can cause havoc on a woman’s body, and new research is looking into the genetic roadmap being laid down for the baby by an overweight/obese mom. Based on all of my clients and their doctors, I would guess that only half of OB’s discuss the importance of exercise and fitness during pregnancy with their patients.
Finally, in 2002, the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG), did a revision of their recommendations for exercise during pregnancy. “In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women.”
Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy: (ACOG)
- Help reduce aches and pains, bloating, swelling and constipation
- Help prevent or treat Gestational Diabetes
- Increase energy
- Improve mood
- Improve posture
- Promote muscle tone, strength & endurance
- Help sleep better
- Help with postpartum weight loss and a smoother return to fitness
We need to talk about the elephant in the room. We need to understand that our bodies work better and more efficiently with they are strong and fit. I know that when you are pregnant you can’t have any alcohol, lots of different food become unappetizing, you get heartburn, you are nauseous…so a little dessert every once and awhile wont hurt! You can have a second helping of your favorite snack or meal, but do not make it a regular occurrence. Everything in moderation.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
- Invest in a heart rate monitor and know your 65-75% MaxHR
- Move, Move, Move
- Find an exercise (like walking( that you can do throughout your pregnancy
- Keep doing what you are doing
- If you are not doing a total body strength and conditioning workout, add one to your week.
- Ask a professional for special modifications during pregnancy
- Hire a Prenatal Personal Training or attend a prenatal fitness class
- Watch your breathing (you should always be able to talk), don’t get out of breath.
My advice (for what it is worth):
- Enjoy Being Pregnant
- Doctors -> TALK to moms about healthy weight gain and exercise
- Moms -> ask your doctors about healthy eating and healthy weight gain
- Be aware of what you are eating every time you eat (don’t mindlessly eat)
- Eat every 2-3 hours to avoid getting too hungry
- ENJOY BEING PREGNANT!
Be A Strong & Fit Mom! Pregnant IS NOT the new Fat!
1. Entin, Pauline & Kelly Munhall. RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY MADE BY PRIVATE/SMALL GROUP PRACTICE OBSTETRICIANS IN THE USA. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 5, 449-458. http://www.jssm.org
2. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ0119 Pregnancy)