Myths about Exercising when ‘Knocked-Up’

Erica Ziel is a motivated woman.  She is the creator of the Knocked-Up Fitness series of exercise DVDs for pregnant women.  She was recently featured in the New York Times where she had a few choice comments about myths and perceptions about how to go about staying in shape when expecting.  The aptly named Ziel is quick to point out that you don’t need to drastically change your routine when you become pregnant:

“As a general rule, if you were doing a certain type of exercise before you got pregnant, it’s O.K. to keep doing it, as long it feels good for you,” Ms. Ziel said by phone.

There are a slew of myths that are associated with pregnancy health.  While some ideas were once theoretical or generally advisable, many notions about pregnancy health have been overturned.  One of them, an idea abandoned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists some time ago, is that there is a maximum heart rate of about 140 beats per minute (bpm) for expecting mothers.  Ziel pays special attention to this one and has her own suggestion for cardiovascular workouts and what should work:

“You should be able to say a few words without gasping for air, but your heart should be pumping,” Ms. Ziel said. “If you can’t catch your breath, your baby may not get enough oxygen and blood, and if you can speak too easily, then you need to take it up a notch.”

Essentially, she’s recommending the same standards a trainer would suggest for a man or a non-pregnant woman.  Her only concerns lie in activities and sports with “quick, jarring movements” like skiing, basketball, tennis or impact sports like kickboxing.  She does offer caution, though:

“The biggest change comes in the core work,” she said. “As the pregnancy progresses, we have them focus more on stretching the back and legs.”

But even there it isn’t a complete loss.  As she mentions, only as the pregnancy progresses will core work and techniques shift.  In fact, core work might be an essential exercise because it better supports the part of the body under the most physical stress during pregnancy.  Some would say the same for the lower back.

If you want to hear more about Ziel’s program, check out her sample video here:

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