I am pregnant with my fourth (and last) baby, due July 1, and I am still working out. Because I exercise for a living, I am supposed to be doing that, right? That’s true, but so is every other pregnant woman; seriously. When my clients first tell me they’re pregnant, it is because they want to know if it is okay for them to work out. I try my best to tell them, yes and they should workout for the entire pregnancy.
I also mention to them that I worked out the entire time through all of my pregnancies. I don’t share that to impress them, but for them to realize that it is totally doable. I am talking about exercising hard at least three to five times a week; none of this “walking” stuff.
Tangent Alert: Walking is not exercise. It is how God created us to get from point A to point B. To get any real benefit from exercise, you have to get your heart rate up and be miserable just for a little bit.
Anyway, these girls either do not care or do not believe me that it is great for them and baby, because after a month or so 80% will quit moving. They end up laying in bed and eating bonbons all day. I say get up and get moving! Continue your exact workout routine that you did before. You are not broken. You are just pregnant.
A few women have an issue like gestational diabetes or end up being high risk. At this point, their doctor would advise them not to work out.
In those cases, the doctor knows best.
Dr. Paul Wendel is a professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is my doctor, and at my last appointment, I asked him a couple of questions on record specifically about exercising while pregnant. Here is what the expert had to say.
Moms that are in great shape are a benefit to the pregnancy on many fronts:
- They are able to withstand more discomfort than moms who do not workout because they know how to endure pain for the greater good.
- Vaginal deliveries are easier because of the strong muscle tone and structure. Mom is able to push much more effectively.
- Cesarean section delivery mothers are actually able to get up and be more active in the immediate postpartum.
- Moms who workout get better blood flow to their uterus.
- Keep your heart rate at 220 minus your age x 70%. So that is about 155-160 for a 30-year-old woman.
- Avoid squats, lunges and thrusts in the third trimester because of the potential damage to the pelvic floor.
BENEFITS TO BABY WHEN MOM EXERCISES
Moms who workout are less likely to get gestational diabetes which then makes for potentially smaller babies that do not get into lung problems, obesity later in life and delivery issues because the baby is too big.
Dr. Wendel concluded with “We like moms who burn sugar. You burn sugar by working out.”
My fitness philosophy is slightly more on the side of tough love, only because I know my clients can do the workouts. However, over and over, I see people push through and succeed. And they are so proud of themselves. I also believe that pregnant women should continue to challenge themselves. (Always be safe.) But not exercising is not the answer. Keep moving! Your body and baby will be grateful in nine months.