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Question
Posted by: Eleanor | 2011/03/11

Pregnant and running

I am 8 weeks pregnant and I am very fit - do lots of running, weight training, surfing, cycling etc. But when I asked my gynae about exercise guidelines she said I should keep my pulse below 120bpm and run no mroe than 5km.
I don''t really think this is realisitic as I''ve read that women who are as fit as me exercise until they feel the cna''t anymore.
Obviously my first priority is my baby, but the gynae has no idea what kind of activities I do and how fit I am so I think that was a bit of a sweeping statement for her to make.
I would like to continue exercising throughout my pregnancy, what do you think?
I have also been training for the Two Oceans Half which will be my second half marathon and by then I''ll be 13 weeks... do you think i could still do it? Obviosuly not for time or a PR and with lots of walking between but I would still really like to do it.
Please help or my husband will wrap me in cotton wool and forbid me from doing ANY exercise! :)

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Eleanor

They say that early on because there is a risk for the baby that its temperature rises too much. So the best thing early on is to keep the intensity of exercise low - hence the heart rate limit and the distance guideline.

It's possible to go over this, sure, and a lot of the time, those guidelines are put in place for the general population, which are usually far less active and fit than it sounds like you are! So I suspect that you could probably get away with it, but the issue is safety and risk. If you can slow down, then for sure it's worth it because there is a risk, however small. And it's probably not one worth taking.

Note that I'm not saying you should not exercise. Exercise is actually very important, beneficial even, for the baby and you! So keep going, but just back off what you normally do. If you are used to doing say 45 minutes a day, at a heart rate of 160, then 30 minutes at 140 bpm is a fair compromise. 120 is even safer.

In the middle trimester, you can increase the intensity again. The key is that you shouldn't be breaking new ground, fitness wise. Now is the time to maintain and cash in the benefits of all the training you've done, not to get fitter.

So you have the right idea - back off what is YOUR level, remember that guidelines are put in place for the general population who are not as fat as you were to begin with, but also recognize why those guidelines exist and therefore that they tell you to ease off and not to do too much!

So keep going, but just bring everything down a notch!

Ross

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2011/03/23

Hi Eleanor

They say that early on because there is a risk for the baby that its temperature rises too much. So the best thing early on is to keep the intensity of exercise low - hence the heart rate limit and the distance guideline.

It's possible to go over this, sure, and a lot of the time, those guidelines are put in place for the general population, which are usually far less active and fit than it sounds like you are! So I suspect that you could probably get away with it, but the issue is safety and risk. If you can slow down, then for sure it's worth it because there is a risk, however small. And it's probably not one worth taking.

Note that I'm not saying you should not exercise. Exercise is actually very important, beneficial even, for the baby and you! So keep going, but just back off what you normally do. If you are used to doing say 45 minutes a day, at a heart rate of 160, then 30 minutes at 140 bpm is a fair compromise. 120 is even safer.

In the middle trimester, you can increase the intensity again. The key is that you shouldn't be breaking new ground, fitness wise. Now is the time to maintain and cash in the benefits of all the training you've done, not to get fitter.

So you have the right idea - back off what is YOUR level, remember that guidelines are put in place for the general population who are not as fat as you were to begin with, but also recognize why those guidelines exist and therefore that they tell you to ease off and not to do too much!

So keep going, but just bring everything down a notch!

Ross

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