Common Misconceptions About Exercise During Pregnancy
Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy, the likelihood of exercise hurting your growing baby are very low. High-risk pregnancies include conditions in Mom like cardiovascular or lung issues, preeclampsia, or high blood pressure. High-risk can also be any complications with the fetus that your OBGYN may have identified. If these issues are not present, then risk of injuring yourself or your unborn baby while exercising are not worth the worry. In fact, exercise helps you to have a healthier body and therefore healthier pregnancy.
Here are three of the most common misconceptions among healthy pregnant women when it comes to exercise:
1. I have to back off my normal exercise routine.
As long as you have a routine that works for you and you feel good doing it while pregnant, there is no need to “back off.” Listen to your body and if you feel good after a workout, keep doing it! If you get later in your pregnancy and fatigue easier or have aches in your back, then you can go lighter, but no need to preemptively change your workout routine.
2. I can no longer run.
Misinformation that running or higher impact exercises cause miscarriages are false. Especially if you are already a runner. If your body likes running and you feel good doing it, there is no need to stop because you are pregnant.
3. I can’t lift heavy.
Lifting heavy is not harmful to you or your baby. If you already lift weights, there is no reason to stop because you are pregnant. In fact, continuing to build those muscles keeps you strong and your core engaged, which helps with posture and can help you avoid lower back pain in that third trimester.
Safety While Working Out During Pregnancy
In general, low impact is a safe choice when pregnant, however whether it’s the best choice depends on the person and how their pregnancy is developing. In a healthy pregnancy, if the patient was already very active, they are generally OK to continue with their workout routine (lifting, running, swimming, etc.), though may need to modify technique and form as their pregnancy progresses.
If you feel overly fatigued, have muscle soreness or strain lasting more than two to three days, or pain beyond just soreness, you may have “overdone it.” If this happens, there are several things you can do to recover.
- If the pain and soreness is mild, then you will want to rest and ice the area. When you are feeling better, consider changing the workout to not be so strenuous. For example, change the amount of weight you are lifting or adjust the height and angle of the movement.
- If the discomfort is more moderate, then a prenatal massage may do wonders. You can also book a physical therapy appointment or see a prenatal chiropractor. All of these modalities can help more severe muscle or alignment issues.
Make sure to schedule rest days into your workout routine. These can include a 20-to-30-minute walk, doing prenatal yoga, or getting a prenatal massage.