Prenatal Fitness: Fact vs. Fiction



Being in my 7th month of pregnancy with my baby girl and a Group Fitness Instructor, I often get a lot of questions about exercising during pregnancy and whether or not it's safe for the mom and baby. This pregnancy is my 2nd and has definitely been a lot more difficult this time around with morning sickness and overall lower energy levels. However, the time of day that I feel my best is during my daily stroller fitness class. Getting my heart rate going with the cardio and strength exercises, being active with my little guy, and the support of the other moms make that hour of exercise the best part of the day. With that being said, I thought I'd take this opportunity to clear up the most popular myths about prenatal fitness. 



Exercise is safe for all pregnant women.


While exercise is safe (and encouraged) for most pregnant women, there are situations when it should be avoided. All pregnant women should check with their medical provider before starting an exercise program.

For those who are able to exercise, there are numerous benefits to prenatal exercise including:

  • Easing the physical discomforts of pregnancy and labor.

  • Fighting the baby blues.

  • Increasing energy.

  • Boosting self-confidence.

  • Setting a positive example for your entire family.

  • Fostering good sleep habits.

  • Decreasing stress.

  • Helping to foster a positive attitude


A woman’s heart rate cannot exceed 140 beats per minute (bpm) during pregnancy and breastfeeding


You should be able to hold a comfortable conversation without feeling breathless. However, make sure that you are increasing your hydration during your workouts and if you start to feel dizzy, out of breath and/or any sort of pain, stop immediately (and check it your doctor).  It's also important to modify your exercises as your pregnancy progresses. For example, if you are in a group fitness class make sure you notify your instructor as soon as you know that you are pregnant so that they can offer you the appropriate modifications thought your pregnancy. 


Working on abdominal muscles is a waste of time during pregnancy.


Strengthening your abs and entire core is important during pregnancy. A strong core, abdominals, back, and pelvic floor, aid in the delivery room and also help with birth recovery. Keeping your abs tight while sitting in a chair, driving, and even while watching TV does strengthen your core!


Pregnant women are prone to more injuries.


Due to the hormone relaxin you are more prone to injuries during pregnancy.  Pregnant women should listen to their bodies during strength training exercises like pushups, squats, and plyometrics. When returning to exercise postpartum, women should wait 6-8 weeks to resume an exercise routine. It takes 16 weeks for the pelvic floor to heal from birth. It's very important to take care of yourself and start slowly back into your routine. 


Pregnant women can eat as much as they want.


Although pregnant women should eat more than their pre-baby selves (300 extra calories daily), keep in mind 300 calories isn't as much as you think so make sure you are choosing healthy snacks. 



Meet The Author

Contributing Writer

Back in Indiana after a 13 year adventure in Chicago and New York, Kara swore she would always be a city girl, but when she decided to start a family, she chose to move to Carmel for her husband's job and to be closer to family. Always passionate about about fitness and children, Kara decided to combine her two loves and start a Baby Boot Camp franchise in Hamilton County. In her very limited freetime, she loves to travel, drink coffee and wine (when not pregnant...oh how I miss thee!), try new restaurants, read, and watch everyone's favorite guilty pleasures--The Bachelor and Scandal!

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