Pregnancy Workouts …What are you waiting for?
Yes, pregnancy workouts! There’s no need to wait for that jogging stroller and your new little workout partner to get moving. Exciting news of a new baby and nine months of “taking it easy” is a thing of the past. Lucky for us gym rats, there is no evidence that kick butt exercise can harm our baby or even cause a miscarriage. That is just old, out-dated information that leaves us moms-to-be, scared, confused and frustrated.
How Hard Can my Pregnancy Workout be?
Like I said before, the idea of keeping your heart rate below 140 bpm during your pregnancy workouts is outdated as well. A more accurate evaluation of intensity would be your Rate of Perceived Exersion (RPE), or how you feel based on a scale from one to ten. No, this isn’t the time to start training for a marathon or pushing yourself to the max in an effort to increase your fitness level. These next nine months are about maintaining your current level of fitness so that you can pick up as close to where you left off after your little workout partner arrives. So, as a general rule, keep your RPE in the 5-6 range during pregnancy workouts.
What does RPE mean?
Just to give you a heads up…your 6 (RPE) pre-pregnancy probably won’t be the same as your 6 while you are carrying. In short, we naturally produce more blood during pregnancy and our heart has to work over- time to circulate all that extra blood. This increase in blood is responsible for fatigue, nausea and dizziness during the first trimester…just a side note (Clapp, James F III MD, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy).
Since our heart is already working harder, we don’t need to exercise as hard during our pregnancy workouts to reach the same intensity level we would before pregnancy. So, don’t panic because your warm-up now feels like your peak intensity… you’re still receiving the same heart healthy benefits that will pay off in the delivery room and after.
It also doesn’t help that moms-to-be naturally breathes 40-50% more air in an effort to get rid of all that extra carbon dioxide that is circulating around their blood (Clapp, James F III MD, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy). As a result, you will feel out of breath at a lower intensity…no, you’re not out of shape. It’s just your body’s way of adapting to having a new little someone inside you...all the more reason to listen to your body and follow the Rate of Perceived Exersion scale.
What does RPE mean?
Side note…no the baby isn’t being deprived of oxygen during your pregnancy workouts. Exercise actually makes the placenta stronger and more efficient, according to James F. Clapp III, M.D.
One More Thing
Almost forgot, increase your warm up to 8-12 minutes at low resistance (3-4 rpe). This is very important when it comes to avoiding joint injuries. You have less synovial fluid in you joints which lubricate your joints. A longer warm-up ensures that the synovial fluid is releases.
Also, don't disregard your cool-down either. Give yourself about 5 minutes to let your heart rate return back to normal and aid in decreasing the lactic acid build up that is responsible for the delayed on set soreness.
Always consult with your doc before starting your pregnancy workouts. If you have a history of miscarriages, you might want to avoid high intensity exercise. There just isn’t enough research yet. Talk to your doctor to find a workout plan that fits your situation. Swimming is always a good option!
If you are a healthy mom-to-be with a normal pregnancy, have at it!
Pregnancy workouts are truly is the secret to counteracting that oh so dreaded postpartum weight gain.
More Interesting Pages
Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy
Third Trimester Exercise
Exercise After Pregnancy
Warning Signs…Know when to stop!
What does RPE mean?
Pregnancy Diet Fit 2 Deliver
Tips and Tricks to help with Morning Sickness
Foods to Avoid during pregnancy
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