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Fit for Two: Do’s and Don’ts for a Fit Pregnancy

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If you are pregnant and want to stay active and fit, here are great tips to follow for safe and effective workout tips for a fit pregnancy

Fit for Two: Do's and Don'ts for a Fit Pregnancy - @Fit_Betty #fitness #prenatalfitness

First off, nope, I’m not expecting, but I am training someone who is pregnant and they inspired me to write this post. My client and I were talking the other day about what we see on the internet about women’s fitness, and I realized that many pregnant women out there may want to be active, but they might not know where to start or what is safe to do.

There is so much health and fitness information floating around on the internet that can be overwhelming, especially when there are health variables like pregnancy or medical complications.Disclaimer: this post is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical professional. Seek medical advice before beginning a new exercise program or workout

I worked out through {most} of my 2 pregnancies with my daughter and son. I was already active so I just continued much of what I was already doing. I did have a medical complication with my son during the first trimester so I was not allowed to work out for 2 months (that was rough!), but after that I was cleared for activity by my doctor and I resumed my regular exercise.

If you have no medical complications, exercise during pregnancy is encouraged and beneficial for both mother and baby. Just make sure you talk to your doctor first before beginning exercise programs if you are pregnant!

Fit for Two: Do's and Don'ts for a Fit Pregnancy - @Fit_Betty #fitness #prenatalfitness

If you are itching to stay active and fit during your pregnancy (and you have been cleared for activity by your doctor), here are some do’s and don’ts for a fit pregnancy:

  1. Don’t perform abdominal isometric exercises (like the plank) while pregnant since this can increase intrabdominal pressure.
  2. Don’t do exercises performed on your back (the supine position) after the first trimester.
  3. Do avoid abdominal exercises if you have diastasis. As your stomach gets bigger, avoid abdominal-specific exercises in general since this can lead to diastasis. Plus, it’s just super uncomfortable!
  4. Do keep tabs on your body temperature and blood pressure, and avoid high altitude training and activities with a high risk of falling
  5. Do get enough to eat! You need an extra 300 calories per day during your pregnancy, so make sure you are eating enough to support your baby and your exercise. Keep your blood sugar balanced during exercise by eating a snack before your workout: something with 30-50 grams of carbs is recommended. Gu’s and gels are fine, just make sure they don’t have caffeine. Just avoid eating too much before exercise or you run the risk of acid reflux – no fun!
  6. Don’t expect to see significant gains during pregnancy. This is a good time to take a step back and focus on maintaining your fitness levels
  7. Don’t begin a completely new workout program during pregnancy. If you are a runner, than running during pregnancy is probably fine, but don’t decide at 5 months along to suddenly take up CrossFit, or HIIT training, or scuba diving.
  8. Do exercise at moderate intensity. Decrease your intensity levels during weight and strength training. Your doctor may even have weight limits for what you should lift.
  9. Do be conscientious about your growing belly: exercises that used to be fine will soon become awkward and uncomfortable.
  10. Don’t hold your breath during weight lifting (i.e. the Valsalva manuever). This can cause a spike in blood pressure and intra-abdominal pressure
  11. Don’t stand still for long periods right after exercise: this can cause blood pooling. Keep moving gently until your heart rate returns to normal

Unless your doctor says otherwise, try to stay active during your pregnancy. Doing something small is better than doing nothing, even if it’s going for a short walk. If you are very active prior to being pregnant, there is usually no reason to discontinue your workouts unless there are medical concerns.

Listen to your doctor! It can be frustrating when your doctor tells you to dial your training down a notch, or even tells you to stop training for a while. But there are plenty of great reasons to listen up! Some medical conditions like placenta previa, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia, etc. can contraindicate exercise during pregnancy.

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about health and fitness. This information is not advice, and should not be used to replace medical advice from a doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about health or fitness matters, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

12 thoughts on “Fit for Two: Do’s and Don’ts for a Fit Pregnancy”

  1. I stayed active during my pregnancy, well after my morning/day/night sickness subsided ;), and it was the best thing I could have done! It was a difficult delivery and my doctor said had I not been as strong as I was a C-section would have been necessary. I did do planks my entire pregnancy though and had no issues. My doctor knew I was doing them and I know of many other pregnant women who have done/do them as well with no issue. I’m definitely not contesting you but am now intrigued that you say to not do them. I think it’s time to revisit that thinking. šŸ™‚

    • Avoiding isometric abdominal exercises is a recommendation from ACSM since it can raise blood pressure and intra-abdominal pressure. But, your doctor would have warned you against doing that if they felt it was going to be a problem. I train someone with diastasis, so any abdominal-specific exercises are off the menu. My best advice for people who are curious about planks during pregnancy is to check out the ACSM guidelines for pregnant women and check with your doctor šŸ™‚

  2. This is perfect timing for me! Do you know anything about twisting during stretching? I think I read somewhere not to twist and was wondering if that was correct.

    • Hi Susie! I would avoid any deep twisting movements. Some small twisting (like those in every day movements) should be fine, but deep twists should be avoided. But you should check with your doctor and see what they say on that šŸ™‚


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