I credit much of my healthy, complication-free pregnancy to the fact that I got my butt out of bed every morning and exercised (minus the first and last couple of weeks).
The benefits of prenatal exercise are undisputed — for both mom and baby. In fact, many experts say that being inactive is the real risk, leading to high blood pressure, excessive aches and pains, and a high risk for gestational diabetes. Even just moderate activity (like brisk walking) will keep your heart rate up, get your blood circulating, and keep your body in shape for labor.
But there are a lot of myths circulating about prenatal exercise, scaring women off from being active. After the jump, I tackle each myth, debunking it with a mix of research and personal experience …
1. If you weren't active before pregnancy, you can't be active now
It's common belief that if you did (blank) before pregnancy, you can (blank) during your pregnancy. While helpful to those who've always been active, it can be confusing to those women who don't know where to get started. What if I used to be a runner, and I haven't laced up in a year? What if I wasn't too active — how much is safe now?
According to Raul Artal, MD, lead author of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) guidelines on prenatal exercise, "nowhere in the medical literature does it say that moderate exercise such as walking is unsafe, even for previously sedentary women." For normal, healthy pregnancies, Artal recommends walking 30 to 60 minutes a day, broken up however you'd like. The ACOG recommends that previously inactive women should start slowly — beginning with as little as 5 minutes of exercise a day and adding 5 minutes each week until they can stay active for 30 minutes a day.
Bottom line: Talk to your doctor, stay hydrated, and always listen to your body. But above all else — start moving!
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More on Babble:
The top benefits of prenatal exercise
6 ways to stay hydrated during pregnancy
The dos and don’ts of working out while pregnant
10 safe exercises just for pregnant women
10 benefits of prenatal yoga