Pre-natal Guidelines for the Athletic Mom

Written by Super Member: Julio Salado

Pre-natal Guidelines for the Athletic Mom It is recommended that individuals consult a physician before starting a fitness program.

This section covers some basic guidelines for pregnant women who have participated in a long-term physical training program prior to being pregnant. Women who led a more sedentary lifestyle prior to their pregnancy should first seek assistance from a health professional. If this is your first pregnancy, you should get your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The first trimester is a very crucial time for the fetus. The fetus is unable to regulate its own body temperature to that of the mother. During this trimester, pregnant athletes should avoid exercising in hot conditions and for duration that exceeds 60 minutes.

Consistency of your training program is very important. Three to five times per week is sufficient. This includes any physical activity which is done in 25 minutes or more.

Heart Rate: You want to be about 60%-70% of your resting heart rate (non-athletes should not exceed 140BPMs). You should take your pulse during your training. You may use a Heart Rate Monitor to detect your heartbeat per minute. Please note: Heart rate will NOT be 100% accurate due to the physiological changes occurring in your first/second trimester. More importantly, your perceived rate of exertion is key (stay within a comfort zone). You will want to be mindful of your internal temperature and levels of stress.

Hydration: You must drink water throughout the session. Your urine should appear diluted and almost clear as water. Hyperthermia should be avoided.

Right Breathing: Focus on 'diaphragmatic breathing'. Heavy emphasis should be placed on breathing in through the nose (simultaneously expanding belly) and exhaling through the mouth (simultaneously drawing in navel). You should never hold your breath throughout any exercise.

Aerobic Training: You should continue to build up your heart and lung capacity/conditioning. This may be done through circuit training e.g. swimming, walking, stationary cycle, Yoga or low-impact aerobic classes. No high-impact exercises should be performed.

Strength Training: It is very important to continue strength training for your bone density, muscular conditioning, and overall health. Your training should focus more on functional exercises or movements that can be utilized in your daily activities.

Note: Form is extremely important. Strive for quality, not quantity of exercises. Heavy loading of weights is not necessary.

Posture: You should begin to minimize long durations of exercises on your back due to blood circulation and decrease of oxygen for your fetus. One to two minutes in a supine position is a good time frame. After the first trimester, you will need to modify your exercises and stop supine or exercises on your back. Lastly, you will also need to minimize standing exercises during your third trimester.

Stretches: We do not want to stretch to maximum tension or perform ballistic stretches. Joint laxity increases during pregnancy.

Re-assess/stop training if you have any of the following during or after your workout. I strongly suggest seeking medical attention if you experience any of the following:
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness/Decreased balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Pre-term labor
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
Concern for the mother
Hypoglycemia: Your blood sugar levels can drastically drop during your pre-natal training. Monitor your food consumption and eat the appropriate amount of calories for you and your baby.

All programs should also include a cool-down phase and SMR Foam Roller. You should not foam roll over varicose veins or areas of swelling such as in the calf muscle.

This is a exciting time for you and staying active will help ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Be well and stay ACTIVE!

This Article was contributed by a Super Member:
Julio A. Salado, AFAA & NASM C.P.T. is the founder of, author of 'Maximum Boost Workout© 8 Week Body Sculpting Book, Health & Fitness writer for bilingual 'Health and Family Magazine'. He is also a group instructor in Tai Chi Chuan, motivational speaker on health and wellness, and fitness model. Send him an email at [email protected]

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