Wendy Powell

Exercising While Pregnant | Is Intensive Exercise Safe?

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Pregnant woman in a green dress, gray sweater, and cream hat outside in the snow.

Do you love high intensity training? Boot Camps? A good sweaty HIIT workout? When exercising while pregnant is intensive exercise safe? What do you need to change to ensure your prenatal workouts are safe for you and babe.

So, are is intensive prenatal workouts safe?

It depends. ‘Intensive’ exercise refers to exercise that involves maximum effort, the kind of effort that cannot be sustained for more than a minute or so, where you feel out of breath and wouldn’t be able to talk easily. Examples might include Bootcamp or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), running or heavy strength training including Crossfit.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advise that high-intensity training is not suitable for pregnant women and prenatal workouts. To distinguish the difference, many trainers use the ‘talk test’ – you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise and if that’s a struggle, it’s too much.

But, both appropriate strength training and aerobic exercise are good as prenatal workouts. If you have no contraindications, if you did this type of exercise before and if you listen to your body, moderately intensive exercise during pregnancy can absolutely be beneficial and safe.

So where are the boundaries?

  1. A pregnant woman must have her Doctor’s clearance to exercise
  2. ‘Listen to your body and respond accordingly’ is the most important advice of all

Pregnant women are more prone to overexertion, overheating and dehydration.. So good air circulation, a comfortable temperature and easy and plentiful access to hydration before, during and after exercise are vital.

Red flags to look out for during prenatal workouts:

  • Pain or bleeding
  • Heaviness in the perineum
  • Dizziness
  • Bulging or doming of the abdomen in later trimesters.
  • Leaking urine
  • If you experience these symptoms, stop and seek medical attention from a Doctor or specialist Pelvic Health Physio/PT.

It is also important to make sure you are maintaining adequate caloric intake and nutrition to support your activity level during pregnancy. Check out more on nutrition during pregnancy right HERE.

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