One of the questions I am often asked is whether you should monitor your heart rate while exercising during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) at one point recommended that during pregnancy women do not allow their heart rate to go above 140 beats per minute. This recommendation is still often talked about, but it was actually removed in 1994 as a recommendation!
The problem with stating that a women's heart rate should not exceed a certain level is that everyone is different. A suitable heart rate will depend on many factors - age, weight, pre-pregnancy fitness levels and how the pregnancy is progressing.
So what should you do? 👇🏻
1. listen to your body. You are the best person to know what feels uncomfortable and too much or if there is discomfort. This may come easier if you were fit pre-pregnancy because you will be more in tune with your body. But even if you were not you can feel what feels good or not.
2. use the talk test. At all times you should be able to speak a few words at a time and not be winded or unable to speak.
3. do not exercise to exhaustion. You should end your session when you still feel you could keep going for another 10 minutes.
4. think about maintenance not reaching PBs. Do not do exercises where you are trying to do as many reps as possible for time which might make you go too fast.
5. some days you will feel more energetic than others. Acknowledge it and adapt your workout or take a rest day as needed.
6. you will find you will want to reduce or eliminate weights as you progress through your pregnancy. Even with body weight exercises for a shorter time you will get the benefits of staying active and be stronger post birth.
7. rest when needed and stay hydrated
8. consider how quickly you are recovering from the workout. If you are pushing yourself too hard your body will tell you and you’ll feel super tired/exhausted. Rest after workouts and listen to your body’s feedback.