You're more resilient than you think!
Moms-to-be are typically concerned with what to do in regards to exercise. According to one study, 27% of women are afraid of hurting the baby and 62% of those working out think that exercising for more than 30 minutes is unsafe. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) also reported other unnecessary fears:
“Some patients, obstetrician–gynecologists, and other obstetric care providers are concerned that regular physical activity during pregnancy may cause miscarriage, poor fetal growth, musculoskeletal injury, or premature delivery. For uncomplicated pregnancies, these concerns have not been substantiated”.
In short, unless you have a medical condition (i.e preeclampsia) that has contraindications to exercise, you are ok to exercise and are much more resilient than you think.
Labor Can Feel Like A Marathon
If you are a mom-to-be, your labor experience will be incredibly strenuous. I tried to be the best ‘dad-doula’ as I could during my wife’s pregnancy, both as an emotional soundboard and wellness coach. During the active birthing process, she said she felt like she was running a marathon, and the prenatal exercise routine we did leading up, certainly helped her stamina.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG):
“Physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.”
To have a better sense of the activities you should or should not do, Box 3 is a list from the ACOG. You should also understand that physical inactivity can lead to complications. The ACOG states:
“In pregnancy, physical inactivity and excessive weight gain have been recognized as independent risk factors for maternal obesity and related pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
In the end, you’re better to exercise than not.
When beginning an exercise program or routine in the prenatal phase of maternity, listen to your body and start with these 5 guidelines:
Talk to your doctor to make sure you are cleared for physical activity.
Find low impact physical activity options.
Make sure you are using proper form and doing the correct exercises.
Work on strength and stabilization because your joints are relaxing to prepare for the birthing process (2-3 days a week minimum 30 min) .
Maintain or build cardiovascular conditioning (minimum 20-30 min on most or all days).
If you're interested in starting a prenatal exercise program, you can contact Phillip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phillip has 10 years of experience in the wellness and fitness space. In 2010, he became a certified Medical Exercise Specialist and founded Health Care Fitness Integrations LLC. Phillip and his business partner Don Alley founded Medical Exercise Trainers and have affiliates in Washington, DC and Decatur, GA. Phillip Served as the American Society of Fitness Professionals President from 2011-2013. He has been featured in Mens Health, The Washington Post, NPR Radio, Reuters, and other media/news outlets as an industry standards expert. He has also worked with a number of organizations like the Arthritis Foundation and US Soccer Foundation.