The Myths of Fitness During Pregnancy - The Straight Facts on the ACOG Guidelines

The American College of Obstetics and Gynecology (ACOG) guidelines are often misquoted or quoted with outdated information. In fact, two of the myths listed in this article were just printed in a current (Spring 2005), large national publication catering to expectant mothers. The latest and correct information on exercise during pregnancy needs to be widely distributed. Hopefully, this article will help to remedy some of the misinformation.

MYTH:

1. You can't workout during pregnancy if you were not previously engaged in an exercise program prior to becoming pregnant.

ACTUAL: The 1994 ACOG Guidelines for exercise during pregnancy stated:

During pregnancy, women are permitted to continue to exercise. The current 20032 guideline is stated as, "Healthy pregnant women are encouraged to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week." It is important to note that the new recommendation is the same one made to women that are not pregnant.

MYTH:

2. You must keep your HR under 140 bpm.

ACTUAL: Unless your personal physician advices against this and assuming he/she is aware of the latest 2002 ACOG Guidelines, this is not a recommendation on the current guidelines. This was actually an old recommendation from the 1985 guidelines. This number was established as a guideline. Since 1994, the recommendation has been updated to say that people are individuals with varying heart rates. Patients are advised to follow the "talk test" to determine exercise intensity. If one can comfortable speak during exercise, this intensity level is moderate.

3. MYTH: You can NEVER lie on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy.

ACTUAL: Pregnant women should avoid the supine (lying face up on your back) as much as possible. It does NOT state NEVER. Some women experience discomfort in this position. If the mother is comfortable, the baby is comfortable. You may exercise are your back but in a very limited capacity. Possibly 1-2 minutes, then roll to your side and perform a series of exercises there.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time for positive changes as it relates to one's health. A great way to begin a fitness program during pregnancy is a solid, commitment to a walding plan. Depending upon your initial fitness level, begin walking even 10-15 minutes a day. Good luck with your program as you embark on being a fitness role model for your children. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Patrea Aeschliman:

[email protected] or [email protected]

Patrea Aeschliman is a NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a former Ms. Fitness USA national finalist. Patrea collaborated with physicians, physical therapists, nutritionists and most importantly, moms, to bring together a fitness program that is easy to begin and adaptable enough to continue throughout the entire cycle of pregnancy. The15toFit video was recently featured in Fit Pregnancy Magazine's April/May edition 2005. Patrea can discuss a variety of exercise accessories for moms and prenatal skin care.

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