Congratulations Beautiful Mumma to be!
Finding out that you are pregnant is an exciting time! Your body will go through a lot of growth and change over the next few months. You may be feeling run down or exhausted so, exercise is likely to be the last thing on your mind. However, exercising while pregnant has many health benefits for you and your unborn baby. From reducing your risk of gestational diabetes to helping you feel less fatigue and managing those aches and pains.
Along with the structural changes that occur during pregnancy, blood volume increases, body temperature rises and the hormone relaxin begins to soften the joints later in pregnancy. With all these changes occurring it’s important to seek advice from an accredited exercise physiologist, sports scientist or repeatable trainer specialising in women’s health to assist with your exercise plan.
Gone are the days where pregnant women were advised to refrain from physical activity and exercise.
I’m sure you have heard the old wives’ tale “Pregnant women should not work out if they have not worked out prior to pregnancy” or ” A pregnant woman’s heart rate should not go above 140 BPM (beat per minute) while exercising”. This misinformation is not only confusing for a new mum-to-be but saddening because it can impact the positive health benefits both mum and baby get from exercising during pregnancy. MOST exercises are considered safe and present minimal risk to mother and child, however, modifications are required along the way to accommodate the physiological and anatomical changes that occur during pregnancy.
The current guidelines for exercise during pregnancy as per sports medicine Australia are:
For Women who were not active prior to pregnancy; 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day commencing at low intensity and working towards a moderate intensity on most days of the week. This might include activities like walking or swimming. To measure and monitor intensity it’s recommended to use the Borg scale Rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE). The scale allows individuals to subjectively rate their level of exertion during exercise or exercise testing. An appropriate scale would be working at around 12-14 which means the exercise is somewhat hard, but you are still able to maintain talking throughout. To view the whole chart and gain further understanding of how exertion is measured please see the following link (https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/exertion.htm)
For women who were previously active prior to pregnancy; and are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy physical activity 150- 300 minutes per week and 30-60 minutes per of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week. Exercise is encouraged to be continued until it becomes uncomfortable to do so or unless advised by your healthcare practitioner.
It’s important that all pregnant women consult with their healthcare providers (GP, obstetricians, midwife, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist) regarding physical activity and exercise during pregnancy. This will ensure that you are provided with the best care and advice for YOU and your unborn baby.
Happy exercising mumma!