Firstly, is exercising when pregnant dangerous?
Is there anything I should avoid?
- exercise with high risk falling or abdominal trauma
- activities that involve physical contact
- activities that require jumping movements or quick changes in directions due to stress on joints
- exercises that you hold your breath
- positions that create pelvic instability or have you on your back for extended periods
How often should I work out?
Debunking the myths
- Don’t let your heart rate go above 140 bpm.
"This is old science," says Saxby, who explains we no longer use heart rate as a measure of intensity.
"We use the 'talk test' or rate of perceived exertion to determine intensity of exercise," she explains.
- Don’t do abdominal exercises
Avoid sit-ups or crunches as these moves increase intra-abdominal pressure and also increases the risk of abdominal separation. Instead, Saxby recommends replacing these movements with exercises like pallof press, side planks, farmers carries, four-point kneeling exercises.
- Don’t lift anything heavy
It seems this one is still debatable. Dr Milford says heavy lifting should be avoided where possible. This is mainly due to the pressure this puts on the pelvic floor, pelvic ligaments and lower back and the increased risk of injury rather than any direct effect on the pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Saxby says "strength or resistance training is really good for pregnancy and heavy lifting is fine".