4 pregnancy fitness myths – busted!
Isn’t it funny how when you’re pregnant, everyone’s suddenly an expert? “Sign your kid up for a good school now.” “You should never eat cheese.” “You can’t run when you’re pregnant!”
Yup, people love to dish out advice, and that leads to a lot of conflicting information and outright myths.
To keep you moving safely and with confidence during your pregnancy, we’ve rounded up the most common pregnancy fitness myths that need busting – now!
Myth #1: You shouldn’t exercise at all
Let’s let Emily bust this one: “Pregnancy is NOT an illness. For most women, continuing to exercise is completely safe.”
She’s backed up by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), who recommend that pregnant women do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
Not only is it safe to exercise during pregnancy, doing so has so many benefits for you and your baby – like helping you get better sleep, keeping you strong for labour, and preventing hypertension.
Of course, you should consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important if you are experiencing complications (or have a history of complications) during pregnancy.
Myth #2: You can’t lift weights
When it comes to women lifting weights in general, wow, people have OPINIONS. Add pregnancy to the mix and it can get even more heated – just ask Emily: "I received MANY comments and DMs during both my pregnancies from people who were shocked that I was still lifting weights and told me it was dangerous."
But you know what? As an experienced lifter and qualified personal trainer who worked with women’s health experts to develop her FIT Pregnancy program, Emily knew that strength training within her limits was actually a good thing. And in fact, strength training is a recommended part of the ideal 150-300 minutes of exercise per week.
Want to keep lifting to stay strong? Take a look at our guide to lifting weights during pregnancy.
Love to lift? Emily has good news – there’s no need to drop strength training during pregnancy!
Myth #3: Don’t start exercising now
This one can be a little confusing because there are SOME forms of exercise that you shouldn’t attempt for the first time during pregnancy. For instance, if you haven’t regularly lifted weights in the past, now is not the time to grab the dumbbells.
However, if your pregnancy (or perhaps even the process of getting pregnant) has made you question your inactivity and overall health, you shouldn’t be afraid to begin introducing regular, moderate exercise to your life.
If you’re currently inactive but want to start moving during pregnancy, RANZCOG recommends starting with 15 to 20 minutes of light exercise at a time, and slowly building up to 30 minutes per session.
If you are inactive, we don’t recommend starting with FIT Pregnancy as the program is designed for already active women to maintain fitness and strength. You might want to try brisk walking, riding an exercise bike or swimming. Just remember to warm up and cool down, and stop if anything doesn’t feel right.
Myth #4: You shouldn’t raise your heart rate
Love to run? You don’t have to stop! Back in the olden days, the advice given to pregnant women was to not raise your heart rate above 140 bpm – but that is no longer the case. These days, the experts now point to the Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion and suggest you reach a 12-14 on the scale when exercising – that means your breathing is at the point where you can still talk to someone, but you’re too out of puff to sing.
Before you start any exercise, familiarise yourself with the warning signs you should stop exercising when pregnant.
Important: Always consult your healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program, as there are some situations where exercise may not be advised. This information should be used as a guide only and should not replace the advice of your medical practitioner.
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