Some Activities Are Too Dangerous During Pregnancy

Like going all out when it comes to fitness? Well some activities might be okay, but others aren't. Fitness Expert Sara Jones explains.
Sara Jones

Your question:
I have a working out question. I am about six to seven weeks pregnant. I have been very active before this pregnancy, with running, weightlifting, basketball and volleyball on a weekly schedule. I have talked to my doctor and she said I shouldn't change anything that I am doing. Your article said basically the same thing. My question is, can I still lift weights, do crunches and run long distance? I only run 2 miles three times a week. I play basketball two nights a week and coach/play volleyball one night a week. When I am not doing any of these things I am playing golf. Is this activity okay or do I need to slow down? I don't want to stress the baby. I feel great, but I don't want to over do it. Do you have any suggestions? Also, when you are pregnant, are your target heart rate for conditioning remains the same or should I lower it a little?

The fitness expert answers:
First, as long as you have no miscarriage past history, you should be good as far as continuing on with your current exercise routine. What I tell all of my clients is to listen to their body -- if you are starting to get tired or hurt yourself, you need to lay off the intensity a little until you feel better. This is your body's response to overexertion, which could lead to fetal distress. Plus, drink plenty of water and go to the bathroom frequently (to prevent urinary tract infections).

As far as your sports, keep them non-contact! As your belly grows and the baby grows, you are going to want to protect them! Balls flying towards your abdomen or you falling on your belly can be as problematic as being pushed down the stairs while pregnant! So, as far as the basketball and volleyball goes, I would tone it down -- no competitive contact sport is a good idea while pregnant. My suggestion, keep to the coaching until you deliver. And golf should be fine, but remember, your belly is going to be growing and it will be hard to play four-plus months pregnant. Don't overcompensate your swing resulting in an injury elsewhere, when you start to notice that it is difficult, that might be a good time to stop until postnatal.

Running should be fine, but do not run at the intensity you were before. Use the talk test and rate your perceived exertion on a 1 to 10 scale (be within a 6 to 8). Your heart rate automatically rises while pregnant, so it is not a good indicator for exercise guidelines while pregnant. Instead, make sure you aren't overdoing it and you are able to carry on a conversation while exercising.

And for running, make sure that it is fairly flat terrain, or else you risk falling. While pregnant, your body releases hormones and other chemicals that make you more off-balance and have less stabilization (pregnancy = klutzy). So limit your balance and stabilizing exercises while pregnant.

You can lift weights and do crunches as long as you know some of the prenatal guidelines. There are quite a few. I would recommend any book written in the past five years that is by Dr James Clapp. He is the prenatal fitness expert with more than 20 years experience in this field with research.

I hope this helps to clarify some things. Please let me know if you need more help! Best of luck with your pregnancy and your health and fitness!


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