1. Question: What do you do when you want to squat but you, like, have a baby inside you?
Anyone who is pregnant and wants to work out (or keep working out) should check with their doctor and get the all clear before proceeding.
But to get some general guidelines on what kind of exercise people can safely do during pregnancy, BuzzFeed Life talked to Dr. Daniel Roshan, assistant professor in the division of maternal-fetal medicine at NYU School of Medicine and (via email) to Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. Both Roshan and Minkin recommend exercising during pregnancy for fewer complications during labor and delivery. Roshan says that it’s fine to exercise throughout pregnancy as long as it feels OK to do so and you’ve cleared it with your own doctor based on your unique pregnancy and health concerns. The general limiting factor, he says, will be that the further along you are, the harder it becomes to move around.
Minkin says that walking, running, swimming — whatever movement you love — should be fine as long as it doesn’t raise your core temperature too much, because that’s not good for the baby. Roshan says that the core temperature should not go above 100ºF.
There are some exceptions, though. Roshan explained that anyone who has high blood pressure, heart disease, or a short cervix should not exercise during pregnancy. If the baby is atypically small or showing other problems with growth, the mother should not exercise. Minkin said that anyone with a history of preterm labor should not exercise while pregnant. Otherwise, it’s game on — with a few more important guidelines…
2. Turns out that if you were already lifting before being pregnant, you can probably do your usual workouts but with lighter weights.
The most important factor in determining what kind of exercise you can do while pregnant is strain on the abdomen, explains Roshan. Basically, while you’re pregnant, you should never do any exercise that strains your belly. Though you may have been going for the “go hard or go home” factor in your nonpregnant workouts, weightlifting while pregnant should be much lighter and less effortful.
The exact amount of weight you can move will vary from person to person depending on what you could lift before you were pregnant — it’s all relative to how much you were lifting prepregnancy. And what strains one person’s belly may not strain another person’s. This is why it’s important to consult with your doctor (and most likely a trainer) before continuing any strenuous exercise routine.
3. And you can modify it to accommodate your belly, changes to your stamina, and how you feel that day.
Minkin agrees that weightlifting is fine in moderation, especially if you were lifting before pregnancy. Again, just be sure to consult with your doctor first.
7. In fact, prenatal yoga seems to be good for both mom and baby…
…to the tune of quality of life during pregnancy, pain during labor, and health outcomes for the newborn.
Minkin says that a couple positions to avoid are lying flat on your belly and, after about 20 weeks, lying flat on your back. (Savasana will have to wait till the kid is born.) And Roshan advises against inversions like handstands and headstands.
8. It turns out that for most people with uncomplicated pregnancies, starting or maintaining an exercise routine while pregnant is encouraged.
Minkin explains: “Unfortunately if women don’t exercise, they tend to gain more weight, which is awful for most folks … and the more they gain, the higher their chances of diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which they don’t need!”
9. According to the guidelines of the American Congress of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, you can remain active during pregnancy. Just run it by your doctor and modify exercises as needed.
They recommend medical supervision for strenuous exercise (like pretty much anything going on in these pictures). Also, if you’ve had complications during your pregnancy or were pretty inactive before getting pregnant, you should check with your doctor before starting anything new.
10. Once you have the all clear you can get back to (relative) #beastmode.
13. Or running.
Minkin told BuzzFeed Life that for anyone with a low-risk pregnancy, running is fine. But if you have a history of preterm labor, you shouldn’t run.
15. Or maybe your baby wants to experience you pushing a weighted prowler.
28. Not that you have to lift or do cardio. There’s always working on flexibility.
Remember that whatever exercise you do should be based on your strength and fitness level going into pregnancy. You shouldn’t try to push yourself beyond your comfort zones and you should always check with your doctor before starting a new workout routine, especially when pregnant.
29. Or balance.*
As long as you’re adhering to guidelines we mentioned above.
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