In the past, women “in the family way”, were encouraged to put their feet up and rest. Today, medical professionals agree that exercise during pregnancy is not only something that should be encouraged but it provides many positive benefits for both mom and baby.
"You need to be physically active during pregnancy. It has terrific benefits that are associated with a better pregnancy outcome and even shorter labors," says high-risk pregnancy expert Laura Riley, MD, spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and author of Pregnancy: You and Your Baby, in an interview for WebMD.
Yet, the more exercise during pregnancy is encouraged, the more myths and rumors seem to pop up, leaving expectant mothers with the thought, to exercise or not exercise…’tis the question! Let’s see if you can separate fact from fiction based on the following statements rooted in old wives’ tales, outdated advice, rumors, and things that just don’t make sense!
I have never exercised before in my life. I shouldn't start an exercise program during pregnancy.
Fiction. It is actually recommended that that pregnant women should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes per week. Expectant moms that work out regularly are less prone to a myriad of problems and some studies even suggest that working out gives baby a stronger heart, better athletic ability, and improved intelligence.
If I exercise, I will pull important nutrients from my baby and he/she won’t grow properly.
Fiction. Remember, baby will always get what he/she needs regardless if mom exercises or not. It is the mother’s reserve that takes a dip. To remedy that, it is important for moms to eat well-balanced frequent small meals and make sure that they are taking their supplements and vitamins.
Not every exercise is safe to do during pregnancy.
Fact. All exercises are not created equal! Exercises involving balance or contact sports can be risky during pregnancy. While pregnant, balance can be affected, leaving the mom-to-be unstable. Exercises that involve balance or contact should definitely be put on the back burner.
There is no way that I can do core exercises during pregnancy.
Fiction. Core muscles are the muscles that help to provide support for your middle and your back. Core exercises can improve your posture and help accelerate labor and delivery. However, there are some restrictions. Don't lie on your back and don't over exert yourself. Gentle pelvic tilts, seated belly breathing, or tightening abs, are some good ways to keep these muscles engaged. Women that do core exercises during pregnancy are ahead of the game, post-natal!
Exercising during pregnancy can make me prone to certain fitness injuries.
Fact. During pregnancy, relaxin, a hormone designed to help lubricate joints for an easier labor, is produced. When joints are too lax, there is an increase in the risk for injury. It is suggested to avoid activities that involve deep muscle or joint movements. Even though you will find that your flexibility and range of motion has increased, stay within the pre-baby bump range to avoid problems.
Remember, always consult with your personal physician before making any changes to your diet and exercise during pregnancy.