We are going to debunk 5 common myths about pregnancy and exercise. Before we get into the myths, we just want to say that exercise is not a one-side fits all thing when it comes to pregnancy. There is no perfect way to exercise for every person. Another thing is that you want to make sure you consult with your physician or OB/GYN before you start in any exercise program or if you are current exerciser and pregnant.
5 Myths about Pregnancy and Exercise
Research has shown that women who exercise on a regular basis during pregnancy have shorter labors and have less complications. They also have better postpartum outcomes. So there’s a lot of benefits to strength training and exercise while you are pregnant, but to ensure your safety and the safety of your baby, check with your physician first.
Myth #1: lifting weights is dangerous for you and your baby.
That is simply not true. There is no upper limit of how much weight you can lift when your pregnant. However, the thing that would change the amount you can lift is any precautions stated by your physician or OB/GYN. If you are lifting weights before pregnancy, you can continue to lift weights during pregnancy as long as it is safe and deemed appropriate by your doctor. Might you need to adjust how heavy you lift or the ways you lift throughout your pregnancy? You bet! So long as you feel good as you lift and you are moving your body safely, keep on lifting!
Myth #2: you will increase your risk of injury if you exercise while pregnant.
Properly done exercises can actually prevent issues, like aches and pain, from coming up throughout pregnancy. It’s essential to keep your body strong and stable when you’re pregnant. Your body is changing and adapting all throughout pregnancy and it’s important to exercise in order to support all of these amazing changes.
Some of the things to avoid is any exercises or movement that causes pain. If you are in pain, it’s probably not the right type of exercise for you at this time. If you are exercising and you leak urine or you leak stool, you should avoid or change that exercise. If your belly bulges out or pushes out, rather than pulls in, it’s time to modify your exercise. If you are feeling heavy in the vaginal or perineal area, you might want modify the way you are exercising or avoid that particular movement.
With any type of exercise during pregnancy, listen to your body. Don’t push it. And if you are having symptoms, it is time to adjust what you are doing.
Myth #3: you should only walk or do prenatal yoga.
If you love to walk or love to do yoga, awesome! Do those things! If you don’t love to walk or you don’t enjoy yoga, do something different. There is no one best way to exercise during pregnancy.. You need to do what feels good in your body. So just like we said before, if you feeling any of those negative symptoms, maybe you need to change and modify what you are doing. If you feel good, keep it up!
You might also find with every stage of pregnancy, you are modifying or adapting how you exercise or picking a completely new way of exercising– and that’s okay. As you listening to your body, you may find that you have to adapt and change overtime. As long as you’re keeping active and listening to your body, that’s what matters most.
Myth #4: avoid laying on your back to exercise.
A small amount of time on your back is safe so long as you’re not feeling dizzy, uncomfortable, short of breath, or in pain. If you’re feeling any of those symptoms, exercises on your back are not recommended. However, if you are able to lie on your back comfortably, those exercises should be brief and you should not add a lot of weight or extra load to your body in a laying down position. If you’re not comfortable, simply pick different positions to exercise in.
Another thing you might try is to wedge yourself up on an angle. If you are lying on your back and you do not feel well, but you still want to do an exercise lying on your back, prop your head and back up on pillows. See if angling yourself up a bit helps you feel more comfortable. Otherwise, just avoid laying down exercise entirely if you are having symptoms.
Myth #5: if you’ve never strength trained before pregnancy, you can’t start.
This is most certainly not true. Even if you haven’t exercised or strength trained before, you can start strength training while you are pregnant. You are best to start into strength training at a very gradual phase using very little to no added load or weight. Body weight exercises are great place to start with exercises like squats, lunges, or wall push ups. Resistance bands are another fantastic way of strength training without adding too much load to your body.
At Legacy Physical Therapy we love to teach our clients who are pregnant ways that they can move, strength train, and feel good in their bodies, even for those who have never exercised before. It’s always best to talk to a trained women’s health Physical Therapist so they can guide you to know what types of exercises are going to be best and safest for you.
You should feel good about the exercise that you are doing when you are pregnant and your body should also feel good