Is it just me or are the preggo women in Charlotte so freakin’ cute? Maybe it’s the clothes, or maybe it’s because all of the pregnant women I see are constantly staying active.
For the fit pregnant women in Charlotte, here are some loose guidelines for planning your regimen. Expert information has been provided by Dr. Benion Horton, from Atrium Health’s Union OB/GYN, with offices in Waxhaw, Indian Trail and Monroe.
(Obviously, you should speak with your doctor before starting or changing any activity levels.)
Q: Can I still take hot yoga?
“Walking, cycling, yoga and Pilates are all excellent sources of maintaining good physical strength and conditioning during pregnancy… ‘Hot yoga’ and ‘hot Pilates’ should be avoided.”
Q: Can I still run the Booty Loop?
“If a woman is pregnant and has not regularly exercised by running or jogging, it would not be recommended that she start during the pregnancy. However, in women who have previously maintained physical fitness with running or jogging, those activities may be continued after discussing with her obstetrician or midwife. Limitations on distance and heart rate can be individualized based on prepregnancy activity levels.”
Q: What about my barre class? Aka, what about my abs?
A: Go for it through 20 weeks.
“Exercises that specifically target the rectus abdominal and oblique abdominal muscles may be continued with little issue prior to 20 weeks gestational age. After that time, the size of the uterus will begin to impair a woman’s ability to effectively exercise these muscle groups and will most likely necessitate that these particular exercises be halted until after delivery.”
Q: Can I still CrossFit?
A: Yes – through 20 weeks.
“Weightlifting for generalized strength training may be continued with little change during pregnancy. If a woman is a competitive weightlifter, adjustments may need to be made to her routine and the amount of weight used. Most extremity exercises can be continued throughout the pregnancy. Exercises targeting the abdominal area and squats may need to be discontinued after 20 weeks secondary to the enlarging uterus.
In CrossFit, the same principles would apply–namely up until 20 weeks no significant modifications would be necessary, but after 20 weeks some routines may need to be discontinued.
The enlarging uterus does cause a change in the center of gravity that can have significant effect on these types of activities. In addition, a hormone produced by the placenta called Relaxin actually causes the ligaments and joints to relax, resulting in increased discomfort. While not necessarily dangerous for the developing fetus, the discomfort can be enough to prompt one to stop this activity.”
Q: What should I be watching on my Fitbit?
A: Not your heart rate.
“With changes that can occur to the cardiovascular system during pregnancy, a target heart rate may not be the best measure of exertion. The Borg scale of perceived exertion has been proposed as a better measure during pregnancy, with a score in the range of ‘somewhat hard’ being recommended as a target for moderate intensity exercise.”
Q: How often should I hit the juice bar?
A: Water is the key.
“The most important thing for a pregnant woman to do is to stay hydrated. Especially if participating in regular moderate-intensity exercise. It is quite easy for a pregnant woman to become dehydrated, which can lead to headache, dizziness, abdominal cramping and other issues. Our usual recommendation would be to drink 8 glasses of water per day, but that may need to be increased in someone who continues an established exercise program.”
Q: How can my fit lifestyle help labor? (Gold star, please)
A: Gold star indeed.
“During pregnancy, an active lifestyle and fitness regimen helps with weight management and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension. Some studies even show a reduced risk of cesarean or operative vaginal delivery. There is also some evidence to suggest that postpartum recovery time is shortened in women who have maintained an active fitness regimen during pregnancy.”
This information does not constitute medical advice. Any change in activity levels before or during pregnancy should be discussed with a physician.
(Note: This content was co-created with Atrium Health.)
Cover image via the Bellies & Babies Facebook page.