Your Pregnancy & Exercise Questions Answered
Is it safe to swim for exercise while pregnant?
Swimming and biking are examples of non weight bearing exercises and are indicated during pregnancy, but within reason. Make sure to limit your duration to 30 minutes, three times per week at an intensity of fairly light to somewhat hard intensity. As always, the rule of thumb is that if you’ve been doing the exercise a minimum of six months prior to becoming pregnant, have been cleared by your physician and are a low risk pregnancy it should be fine. Not only will it be a great exercise for you and the baby it’s nice to feel a bit lighter in the water!
How do I know when I’m exercising too hard? How do I know if it’s harmful to my unborn baby?
One way to ensure that you’re not over exercising is using the “talk test”. If you can talk while exercising then you’re exercising at a good exertion, if not then you’re working yourself and your baby too hard. Your ultimate exertion should be between “fairly light” to “somewhat hard” while exercising.
To date there is not a lot of information to know how hard is too hard to exercise. Go with general guidelines and most importantly how you feel during and after the exercise session. If you are exhausted during and then after, then chances are you’re working too hard and the baby is telling you that today is not a good day to exercise. Those babies are pretty smart, so listen to them.
What type of exercise should I do if I can only spare 30 min about three times per week?
If you have never exercised prior to becoming pregnant then you should not start an exercise program within the first trimester, wait for the second trimester and start off gradually. If you have been active for a minimim of six months prior to becoming pregnant then you can continue that exercise program, but within reason. If you only have about 30 minutes three times per week, then walking, swimming or biking are great exercise programs to maintain your cardiovascular fitness without overdoing it. You can alternate one day with light weight training or Yoga if you like.
Thank you again for these great questions, enjoy your pregnancy because there’s no other feeling like it and happy exercising!
Claire Moscone-Biafore has her Honours BSC in Kinesiology and Health Sciences, is a Certified Athletic Therapist, an Osteopath in Present Study (Thesis Candidate), and a Fourth Degree Black Belt Instructor. She also works at Women’s College Hospital, Pivot Sportsmedicine and Orthopedics and in her own practice.