Finally Some Research on Intense Exercise During Pregnancy!
I’m not even pregnant yet, and I’m already annoyed by how much misinformation there is about exercise during pregnancy. Obviously, you don’t want to play a contact sport or do crunches, but what about heavy weight-lifting? Running? Getting yourself good and sweaty and out of breath? Is that safe for the baby? And for how long into your pregnancy?
While there are a ton of anecdotal stories of woman who have been previously active and kept up their workouts throughout their whole pregnancy and gone on to have healthy, happy babies (off the top of my head I think of Charlotte from Sex and the City, and these two amazing runners), but there’s not a whole lot of research out there on it. Most doctors tell you to not let your heart rate get too high and everyone (us included!), tells you to listen to your body. But for many who do have the energy and desire to work out (’cause fatigue and exhaustion is a whole other ball of wax), they cut back on workouts because they’re scared. No one wants to hurt their unborn child, so everyone errs on the side of caution. Makes perfect sense to me. (And, let’s be honest, the mommy guilt starts early.)
So when I saw this new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology that found moderate- and high-intensity exercise in women who were active before they got pregnant to be safe during the third trimester, I was thrilled. In a nutshell, 20 minute of moderate exercise, like walking, three times or more a week or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, like running, more than four days a week did not keep the baby from getting enough blood or oxygen. While the heart rate rose after the medium- and high-intensity workouts in the study, the heart rate, blood flow and biophysical profile stayed in the normal range, indicating that the baby was fine.
Sure, it’s just one study, but moms and moms-to-be need this kind of good scientific literature to be able to make informed decisions about our bodies and our lifestyles. As long as I don’t suffer from an achy breaky pelvis like FBM Erin did, I plan and hope to exercise and jog during my third trimester, whenever that may be. (And, yes, that is easy for me to say now, seeing as I’m not pregnant yet.)
Tell me, did you work out during your third trimester? How intensely? And was your doctor cool with it? —Jenn