Got a bun in the oven? Your nine-month pregnancy period may seem like an awful time to hit the gym, but science says that working out can greatly contribute to your own health and the health of your future baby. Here, we're clarifying every detail about fitness during pregnancy — and debunking all the dangerous myths you've heard thus far.
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1. Your body will speak to you.
As with anything else, it's most important to listen to your body. When carrying a child, this is even more crucial. Rest when you need — the gym isn't going anywhere!
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2. Your heart rate isn’t of concern.
In the past, many physicians warned pregnant women to keep an eye on their heart rate while working out. But more recent studies show that a high heart rate, for short periods of time, doesn't negatively affect the pregnancy. Aim for your normal target heart rate, just as you would during any other workout.
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3. If you didn’t workout before, you shouldn’t start now.
Doctors urge that if you weren't a gym rat prior to your pregnancy, now is not the time to start hitting it hard. Your body doesn't need any added stress or change, so keep it relatively the same as before you got pregnant.
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4. Pay attention during each trimester.
It's important to keep in mind that certain exercises are safer and better suited for your body depending on which trimester you're in. Many women feel the most exhausted during their first, so stick to simple weight training and floor exercises during those initial months. By your third trimester, you may find you've mustered up enough stamina and energy to hit the elliptical.
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5. You may be more prone to injury.
Of course, your body is under more pressure during workouts while pregnant. Avoid testing your flexibility to the max. Instead, find the right movements that allow your joints and muscles to move naturally.
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6. Abdominal workouts are encouraged.
Many are surprised to find that ab workouts are an A+ when it comes to pregnancy workouts. Light, simple abdominal exercises actually aid in your labor and delivery by strengthening the core. Bring it on, six pack!
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7. The benefits are never-ending.
Aside from just feeling good, working out while pregnant offers numerous benefits that far exceed expectations. A few noteworthy benefits include a lowered risk of gestational diabetes, better baby health, more enjoyable labor, and fewer mornings plagued by morning sickness. Need we say more?