Pregnant pause? To do or not to do.
Dr Isra Halim
In 1987, the American Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity honoring the extraordinary achievements of women. The most important phase in a woman’s life, undoubtedly so- Pregnancy. You cannot stop beaming, crying that happy tear, when the little red line on the kit turns red. You are now clouded with questions. What is right, what’s not? Should your fitness journey stop? Should you rest for the whole 9 months? Should you freeze the gym membership? Are leg days safe? Here’s giving you some insights on working out in pregnancy. Prerequisites: 1. Your doctor’s clearance to exercise 2. Assessment of your activity in the preceding months before pregnancy ✨Sedentary pre-pregnancy: Start light and build progressively, increasing the duration of activity ✨Moderately active pre-pregnancy: You are allowed to perform all the activities you did before the stork came home. ✨Very active pre-pregnancy (eg heavy lifter): Perform all workouts at a slightly reduced intensity (between 50-80% of your pre-pregnancy lifts) ✨1. How Much: At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Split either as 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day. ✨2. How Intense: Heart rate shows variability during pregnancy with stage, age and body composition. Moderate intensity exercises that are just enough to raise your heart rate and make you start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing. ✨3. How Frequent: At least 3 days of the week, and preferably all days ✨4. What to avoid: a. working out in a hot environment b. work outs involving lying on your back c. injury prone/contact sports like cycling on difficult terrain, sports involving jumping or bouncing, tennis, horse-riding d. Valsalva Maneuver during training ✨5. What are my options: a. Aerobic activity: walking, swimming, stationary cycling b. Strength training: 12-15 repetitions, all muscle groups trained, to a point of moderate (not severe) fatigue ✨6. When should I stop: a. If you have a medical condition: Severe anaemia (hemoglobin less than 6mg/dl), pre-eclampsia, persistent 2nd or 3rd trimester bleeding, premature labour pains in previous pregnancy, triplet pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes/hypertension or cardiovascular disease and other conditions diagnosed by a gynaecologist b. After week 28 in a twin pregnancy c. Unexplained bleeding per vagina or unexplained pain in the abdomen Go ahead and break that sweat, Healthy mom, healthy baby. Did I mention- Congratulations !! All guidelines have been condensed from the American College of Sports Nutrition, American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the latest Canadian guidelines in exercising in pregnancy. Rest assured you are in safe hands. Celebrate being a woman! Celebrate maternity.