A Personal Trainer Shares the Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant
I’m Amanda Butler, a NASM-certified personal trainer and PROnatal (Levels I & II), AFAA Perinatal certified prenatal and postpartum trainer based in The Big Apple. The word is out. During pregnancy we CAN WORK OUT. And I don’t mean we’re mat-bound doing light yoga. In fact, for the majority of your pregnancy, you’ll most likely be able to keep your fitness routine intact! A wide variety of research has shown that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial and necessary for both mom and baby, not to mention it’s a huge mood booster for when your hormones are all over the place. In order to stay strong and healthy for when baby arrives, here are some of my starter ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ I share with my prenatal clients:
DO make sure you’re cleared by your doctor before you start working out. Once you’re cleared, do continue the same style of training your body is used to. Especially at the start, you will be able to do almost all of your normal fitness routine.
DON’T pick up a new workout. I have clients who think that once they’re pregnant, they should start working out even harder because they won’t get as much gym-time when the baby arrives. #true BUT, If you’ve never run before, now is not the time to pick up those trainers. If you’ve never done yoga, now is not the time to try that headstand.
DO stay hydrated! One of the biggest concerns surrounding exercising while pregnant is overheating. Make sure you consume some delicious H2O before, during, and after your exercise to avoid this. In general, pregnant women should drink 8-12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) every day, so drink up friends!
DON’T be afraid to get your heart rate up! Heart Rate looks a bit different for every body type and fitness level. But in general, if we’re working on a scale of 1-10 (10 being max-effort and out of breath) you never want to go above an 8. But that still means you can sweat and really get your body going!
DO be mindful of any coning or bulging happening in the midline of your belly. During pregnancy it’s natural for diastasis recti to happen, which is the pulling apart and splitting of the abs to make room for the baby. Pretty amazing, huh? But, this also means that we need to be extra cautious when doing movements that could cause intra-abdominal pressure, which would create an even bigger split of the abs. Rule of thumb: if you see coning happening, stop whatever exercise you’re doing.
DON’T compare your pregnancy fitness journey to your pre-pregnancy body. Your body is changing and that is extraordinary. Check in with yourself, work with your body through the change, and embrace this special moment in your life.
Amanda Butler is an NYC-based personal trainer, fitness instructor, and fitness model. NASM CPT, PROnatal (Levels I & II), AFAA Perinatal, AFAA Group Fitness, KettleBell Concepts, CPR/AED, TRX, and Nutritious Life Nutrition Certified and proud mother of three, she’s always on the move and rewards herself with a weekly Levain cookie, split with her husband Pablo. Follow Amanda on Instagram or visit her website for more health & fitness tips.