5 MYTHS ABOUT PREGNANCY & POST PARTUM EXERCISE
BY ROSIE DUMBRELL
Are you confused about what to do in pregnancy – rest or exercise, eat what you want or use it as a time to take it easy? Rosie Busts the Myths on Pregnancy + Post Baby exercise!
Myth #1: You shouldn’t take up anything new in Pregnancy
We used to recommend women don’t start anything new in pregnancy - and whilst we still want to be sensible, if you aren’t currently active at the time of falling pregnant, the WHO (World Health Organisation) actually recommends you start slowly (with the go ahead from your health care provider, in the instance of no complications) and build up to the recommended 60 mins a day. This might be as simple as starting with a 10-15 min walk a day, and building up over the course of your pregnancy, some prenatal yoga or Pilates for example.
Myth #2: You should keep your heart rate below 140bpm
This is another outdated piece of advice – and one I have always struggled with – as it doesn’t account for individual variations in fitness level. I can exercise @140bpm and be at a low-moderate level of effort, whereas someone new to exercising may be pushing too hard at 140bpm. Instead, we now recommend using the “Borg Scale” – which is a rate of perceived effort scale, ranging from 6-20 in terms of level of effort. We recommend sticking to 12-16 as a top level of effort, which is moderate- moderately hard.
Myth #3: Pregnant women shouldn’t lift weights
Whilst there are certain movements that become less desirable or safe in the weights room, and its not a time to be looking to lift PB’s, some level of strength training can be fabulous in pregnancy in maintain strength, improving posture + prepping for labour/ birth + #mumlife. The level and type of training that is appropriate really depends on what you were doing pre- pregnancy, and if you have any pre existing issues (like un resolved/ untreated pelvic floor or pelvic issues, for example) but by and large, light-moderate lifting can be really beneficial. Working with your Prenatal certified PT or Physio can be a great place to start if you are unsure!
Myth #4 You should be eating for 2!
Whilst nutrition is of utmost importance during pregnancy, the old adage of eating for 2 is not exactly helpful or accurate. In the first trimester, your usual calorie intake should suffice, and the following 2 trimesters you can expect to need to increase by an additional 300 or so calories each trimester. Focus on nutrient dense, unprocessed foods + beverages.
Myth #5: You are good to go after your 6 week check up post baby
Whilst this may be appropriate for a minority of women, its really important to have a women’s health therapist assess your pelvic floor, abdominal separation (if present) + general core stability. The APA (Australian Physiotherapy Association) recommends waiting 12-24 weeks before return to impact activity – but the reality is some women will need much greater time than this if they are recovering from any birth trauma. Work with your health professional for an approach that is best for you, in the longer term + beyond!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosie is a Physiotherapist, Mum of 2 young boys, with a 3rd bub on the way. She has recently launched Lenny Rose Active, a range of luxe technical + activewear inspired by both her physiotherapy + motherhood experience. You can check out the range at lennyroseactive.com.au, and also follow on Instagram @lennyroseactive. Lenny Rose is first an activewear brand, but foremost exists to support women through the metamorphosis of pregnancy to motherhood, and beyond.