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Debunking 3 Popular Pregnancy Exercise Myths

Pregnancy itself can be rough — you’re tired, your body aches and you’ll likely have morning sickness and nausea at some point. You may wonder why you’d add workouts into the mix, but the easy answer is it can actually help you prepare for labour.

When it comes to the fitness aspect of pregnancy, there are a lot of dos and don’ts but generally speaking, much of it is individual. First and foremost, it’s important to talk with your doctor before starting a workout routine when pregnant. Every body and every pregnancy is different, and your doctor can help make the best recommendations for your unique needs.

MPOC Pregnant Belly


For some that are starting out when pregnant, they should not overdo it — just like anyone starting out a new routine. Of course, it is best if you continue your workouts if you were in a regular routine, because that decreases stress and prepares you for the physical trials of labour.

Women — and their partners — may be concerned that exercise will somehow harm the growing baby, but according to the American Pregnancy Association; “exercise does not increase the risk of miscarriage in a normal low risk pregnancy.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists promotes exercise after seeing the difference regular workouts can make not only in the birthing experience, but the overall health of mom and baby.


Of course, morning sickness, which we know can strike any time of day despite its name, can affect every expectant mother in different ways. However, thinking that you can’t work out due to the nausea is not entirely true.

During the first trimester and into the second, the circulatory system dilates to double its size. This bigger circulatory system now demands a larger blood volume to fill the larger system, hence the light headedness, nausea and lack of appetite. The more exercise and movement that the mother can withstand during the first trimester will allow for the individual to produce more blood, thus filling the circulatory system with the correct amount of blood, while decreasing the feelings of sickness that are being experienced.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that if you have been sedentary prior to pregnancy, walking and low-impact exercise are ideal as your body is already going through enough changes. If you have been active, however, you can absolutely stay that way



When it comes to working out, many people use their heart rate to determine how successful the workout is. When it comes to working out while pregnant, however, Erica Ziel, author, creator of ‘Knocked-Up Fitness’ and ‘The Core Rehab Program’, says it is an inaccurate way to determine intensity. “There are so many variables that affect a prenatal woman’s heart rate,” she notes. “One being that her heart rate has naturally increased from the beginning of the first trimester, and including fitness level, age and more.”

So, what exactly should you be doing to track the intensity of your workout when pregnant to make sure you aren’t pushing your growing body too hard? Ziel recommends the talk test method.

“Research has said for years now to follow this method,” she says. “The talk test is a better indicator of how hard a pregnant mama is working out. She should be able to carry on a light conversation while exercising. If she is having a hard time catching her breath, she needs to slow down.”

If you skipped working out in the first trimester completely, Ziel also notes that you shouldn’t just completely give up until your baby is born. She says as long as your doctor gives you the OK, you should start doing light workouts of even five minutes to prepare your body for the physical challenge of childbirth.


Caley Olesen

This post was written by Dr Caley Olesen.

You can find out more about Caley here or book an appointment online here.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment by calling the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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