Modifying exercise for pregnancy

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It’s just another after-work jaunt to the gym. You’ve done this before. So why does everything suddenly look so intimidating?

You just might be pregnant.

Or your gym just might be kinda sketchy. Who am I to assume? … anyway.

After learning that there is another human being growing inside you, working out can be a little scary. For first-time moms and moms who have miscarried before, this is no joke.

Every cramp, aching muscle or racing heartbeat might make you wonder if your baby is still OK. Well, I’m here to share three quick modifications that (if done right) should take the worry out of that workout.

Change #1:

Don’t check your pulse anymore. Counting that little ba-bump, ba-bump to gage your workout effectiveness is totally useless now. Growing a fetus changes the way your blood circulates meaning that now you have to understand Ratings of Perceived Exertion. The amount of blood flowing through your system will almost double by the third trimester, meaning that your resting heart beat will be about 20 beats per minute higher by the time you reach 32 weeks. Don’t be afraid to get that heart rate up there, but remember that your pulse can race with the simplest of exercises now. Pay attention to how you feel far more than what that pulse number is.

Change #2:

Drop the barbells. That bulge on your belly will do some crazy things to your body by the time you are done. Muscles and tendons will stretch like overused hair bands. The way your bones tip and tilt is going to realign. Adding heavy, external loads onto a frame that’s changed can be dangerous. If you do want to continue with traditional weight training, make sure you have a fitness professional tell you how to tweak your lifts to accommodate that changed frame. Or just opt for much smaller weights and more reps. Now is not the time to go all Arnold at the gym. P.S. you also get a 9-month pass on what I lovingly refer to as the “crotch-shot machine” – that one that works the adductors and abductors. It will hurt more then help the L&D process. Congratulations!

Change #3:

Eat a granola bar. Good news! All (ok most of) those carbs you eat in your beautifully balanced diet are going straight to baby and not your butt! Since the first thing your pre-natal workout is going to use up is carbs, you need to make sure you are getting enough for baby to grow and for you to avoid passing out. Some healthy and carb-loaded options are bananas, oatmeal and nuts. If you really want to feel great, grab one of those nut and fruit loaded granola bars and wash it down with some orange juice. Depending on the brand, that could pop you well over the 100-gram mark. Awesome!

Change #4:

Drink one more glass of water than you think you need. Did I mention that your blood volume changes with pregnancy? Oh yeah, you’ve read this far so you must have seen that up above. If passing out post-workout doesn’t sound pleasant, drink water until you are full. Then pound back a little more. This will help your blood get all that extra exercise oxygen to your brain and baby’s. Then go try and run on a treadmill without wetting yourself. OK, no?

What worries you about working out while pregnant? I’d love to help!

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