Just because you are pregnant does not mean you need to stop working out, in fact it should be a reason to continue or even start. You are now caring for someone else so it is important that you keep yourself healthy. In the past women have been told that you should reduce working out if you are a regular exerciser, and if you are a non exerciser then you should refrain from even starting an exercise program. Well time shave changed, studies have shown that working out well pregnant is not only a good for you, but can have good effects on your child as well.
Yes, I know the first trimester you may not feeling like working out due to morning sickness, and fatigue that is perfectly fine. But in the second trimester when you are feeling better is a great time to continue working out, or to start working out. Women who have been active before pregnancy can continue their aerobic workouts, as soon as they feel ready too or at a bit of a decrease depending on what you feel comfortable with. Women who have been sedentary should start with a pace they can maintain and feel comfortable with for 15 min 3 times a week working your way up 30 min of continuous work 4 times a week. A goal for pregnancy fitness is to maintain a level of fitness, not to reach a peak level of fitness or training for an athletic goal. If you are starting out choose an aerobic workout that minimizes the chance of losing your balance such as a brisk walk, cycling, swimming. We should focus on activities that will reduce stress on the joints, reducing bouncing, jumping up and down motions.
While working out it is a good idea to follow Borg’s scale of perceived exertion. The Borg scale is a scale from 6 to 20, with 6 being at rest (i.e. resting on the couch), and 20 being can barely go on (i.e. the hardest workout of your life.) When you are working out you want to be some where between 12-14 on the Borg scale, this is something at will make you sweat, but you feel as though you can keep a good rhythm.
Once that little bundle of joy has joined us, it is not a bad idea to take a bit of a break from working out, for about 6 weeks depending on how you feel. Then slowly get back into a workout schedule. Do not worry about exercise affecting the production, or quality of breast milk, since working out has not shown to affect breast milk during moderate exercise. There has been shown some increase in lactic acid in breast milk at women training at maximal levels, but at moderate levels the milk is fine. A good idea is to breast feed your baby right before working out, this will also help reduce discomfort well working out. If that is not an option then you may want to wait about one hour after exercising to breast feed. The growth of a baby who’s mother is working out has no effect on the baby, even when the mother is losing weight due to working out. Let’s also remember the benefits of group exercises like Baby Blitz for both socialization of mothers and babies too!
There are very few non-medical reasons why you should not continue to work out, or even start to work out while you are pregnant. Some reasons why you should not workout well pregnant are preterm labour, growth restricted fetus, if you are having a higher order of babies (triplets or more), so check with your doctor if you are able to workout. Get your Parmed-X for pregnancy filled out, or a doctors note saying you are cleared for working out, then hit the gym! At the very least you should at least be doing your kegals before, during, and after pregnancy to help prevent postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction. So get out there and keep in shape, and have fun! Brett from Blitz Conditioning was recently interviewed on CTV about some basic exercises that you can do with your baby, check it out here!
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