Pregnancy no longer has to hold you back from breaking a sweat! From Serena Williams to Gal Gadot, pregnant women have been kicking butt on the court & in the gym, but how hard is TOO hard when it comes to maternity fitness? Doctors explain.
While experts used to think pregnant women shouldn’t have their heart rate exceed 145, we now know that working out while expecting is totally safe. BUT when it comes to getting your fitness on as a soon-to-be mom, how intense can you actually get? Turns out, you can probably go harder than you may think! “It’s great to [exercise] during pregnancy, because there are so many benefits,” Dr. Grace Lau, an OBGYN at NYU Langone Medical Center told the New York Post. “It keeps your energy up, it makes you feel good, it makes your heart strong and helps with nausea, back pain, and complications.”
But of course there’s certain activities that could put your body — and your unborn child — at risk. Helping pregnant women navigate that fine line, Dr. Joanne Stone, director of maternal fetal medicine at Mount Sinai Health System, has some simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind for active expectant moms. First, it’s important to remember that working out is nothing to be scared of. “Don’t be afraid to get your blood pumping if it feels ok,” Dr. Stone told the publication. “Walking, hiking, and swimming are all good aerobic exercises for a fit mom.”
However, there are some exercises that AREN’T as safe for pregnant women. “Do avoid exercises that require balance, such as skiing,” the doctor said, explaining that activities that put your stomach at risk are also major “don’ts.” For example, crunches, bench-pressing, boxing (with contact,) and even biking are off limits. “If you’re a bike rider, once your belly’s big, your balance can be off,” Dr. Stone said. “I would recommend sticking to a stationary bike.”
You should also stay clear of any exercises that require you to lay flat on your back. “You can get what’s called supine hypotensive disorder after the first trimester, which…can result in a squished inferior vena cava [the vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart,” Paul Corona, a prenatal trainer at Equinox, explained to the media outlet. Yikes! It’s also important to remember NOT to overstretch. “Pregnancy hormones can cause ligaments to relax,” Paul continued, “making it easy to overdo it in yoga class and get injured.”
One woman the Post spoke with boxed well into the third trimester of her pregnancy. “I boxed to the last minute,” Min Santandrea, who’s a former amateur boxer, said. Even better, her doctor encouraged her (non-sparring, non-contact) workouts too! In fact, her conditioning routine actually made her pregnancy and delivery easier while improving her balance. However, it IS possible to overdo it. “Now’s not the time to reach new fitness levels,” Dr. Lau cautioned. “You don’t want to cause yourself any discomfort in pregnancy… or cause any injury or harm.”
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are these dos and don’ts helpful? Are you less hesitant now to work out hard while expecting?