Fitness Faux-pas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2007
Fitness Faux-pas?
Sun, 02-25-2007 - 3:49pm
For nearly ten years, I've been running in excess of five miles per day, and weight training three-four days per week. At four months pregnant, my doctor insists that it's perfectly safe for me to continue this routine for as long as I feel comfortable. However, in speaking with expecting friends, I've learned that many doctors ban jogging all together and place serious restrictions on weight training (i.e. not lifting more than 25-40 lbs, depending on the physician). Even the most respected books on pregnancy warn against too much exertion. Yet my doctor insists... it's good for me, and good for the baby, even in terms of leg presses of 160+ lbs (note that he is highly respected in his field). So who's right... could all of this advice simply be CYA???
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2004
Mon, 02-26-2007 - 5:46pm

I'd listen to your doctor:

Most time they don't recommend that you start a new fitness routine as harsh as yours

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2007
Tue, 02-27-2007 - 3:38pm

I have no clue who is right - I've pretty much heard that anything you have been doing on a regular basis prior to becoming pregnant that you can continue throughout your pregnancy (and when I was little I had a dance teacher who did indeed dance through her 8th month).

I've also read some of what you are talking about, though - avoiding high impact activities, nothing too strenuous. It may really be just a lot of CYA. I've been doing personal training for the last couple of months and now I'm having to make the decision of weather or not to continue at the level that I have been.

Whatever your decision, good luck to you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2007
Wed, 02-28-2007 - 1:39pm

I can also relate. I don't weight train (I should) but I was running 70 miles per week for 10 years up until I found out I was pregnant. I cut down to 55 miles per week. Most of my long distance running friends ran up until they gave birth. What many people do not understand is that 55 miles per week may seem extremely excessive to them but I've been doing it for 10 years. Running to me is probably like walking to others. I can't even get my heart rate up when I walk. I'm now near my 2nd trimester and the doctor told me to cut down a little bit which I will do. I already have slowed down tremendously so I will just listen to my body. I'm sure once my belly starts growing it will be uncomfortable. I recommend the book "Runner's World Guide to Running and Pregnancy."

EDD 9/6/06

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2007
Wed, 02-28-2007 - 2:03pm
Thanks, Kristi! That book sounds great... and I know just what you mean. Walking doesn't feel like I'm doing anything at all (and I only run half the distance of you!). Same with weights -- 25 lbs seems pointless. I just started my 2nd trimester and have a teensy bit more energy now than I did, but it's still slow-going. Sometimes I think I could walk faster!! Best of luck to you & your little-one-to-be!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2007
Thu, 03-01-2007 - 11:12am

I'm a runner too, and my midwife gave me to the go-ahead to keep running. Then, first trimester fatigue sidelined me and I only managed to get out once in three weeks -- and she reprimanded me for not working out at my last appointment! LOL! My personal feelings on the matter are that if you're perfectly healthy and you already work out like that, then telling you to stop is pretty old-fashioned and backwards. There used to be a time when women would "lie in" for the entire pregnancy! And I think that mentality is still alive in some doctor's minds.

Anyway, I'm now trying to get back into regular running again, after my first trimester trials. I'm in my 12th week and the fatigue and whatnot is starting to subside.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2006
Fri, 03-02-2007 - 10:49am

Hi Ladies,
I am an exercise physiologist expecting my first, thought I would give my professional opinion on the topic of exercise during pregnancy. First of all, exercise is a wonderful thing physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some forms of exercise have been shown to improve the natural birthing experience (such as prenatal yoga) and limit extra weight gain. There are a few things you need to keep in mind though.

1) Getting your heart rate too high can actually shunt oxygen away from your baby (clearly a very bad thing). When you exercise blood and oxygen is carried away from your organs (uterus included) and to your working muscles. When you work out at a high intensity you can actually do significant harm to a growing fetus by denying them oxygen.

2) Injuries become more common when you are pregnant. This is because pregnancy hormones increase the elasticity of your ligaments (preparing for opening hips during birth). This increased elasticity increases your risk for sprains and strains, dislocating joints etc.

3) Your pregnant body affects your balance. Your body is changing and it is very common for your balance to be WAY off. Think about how awful it would be to be trail running, hit a root or rock and be thrown off balance to fall and land on your stomach. NOT WORTH THE RISK!

4) Lifting heavy weights is often discouraged because of the tendency of the lifter to “valsalva”. This maneuver, in which you forcefully exhale without actually releasing air, can result in a rapid increase in blood pressure and intra-abdominal pressure, and may decrease oxygen flow to the fetus. Your best bet is to keep your weights low and your reps high.

In my opinion, the bottom line is that you have to exercise in moderation. Avoid intense exercise, holding your breath or bearing down, avoid jumping or jarring motions, keep your heart rate in check. Walking, jogging, using elliptical machines, swimming, and biking are all good ways to stay aerobically fit during pregnancy and burn excess calories. If you are looking for muscle tone/ strength, I would suggest using lighter weights and performing higher repetitions, buying a resistance band (they can be very effective), or trying pre natal yoga.

Feel free to ask me any specific questions. I hope this was helpful!


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