Not just slightly smarter children either; dramatically improved and advanced brain functionality in babies. Researchers think the increased oxygen and blood flow to the developing baby's brain helps it form and function at a faster rate compared to mother's who rarely to never worked out in their pregnancies. Awesome news for us fitness-fanatic mamas!
However, it's still important to stay safe while you're working out and not push yourself too hard. But what's "too hard" and how do you properly manage that? Heart rate monitors, to the rescue!
I got a heart rate monitor for Mother's Day so that I'm able to track where I'm at and ensure it's not getting too high. Make sure to wear your monitor and track where you are regularly until you start to learn how your body functions given the various exercise programs you chose to do. Consult with your doctor on what your max bpm should be given the parameters of your pregnancy.
I took my first trimester off from running, just like I did with Henry. Instead, I did Pilates, barre classes, yoga, circuit training, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes with modifications. Now that I'm in my second trimester, I'm doing all those things, plus re-incorporating running. Very slow running... But running nonetheless.
With Pilates and yoga, my heart rate never gets above 130-135, so those are great options for all fitness levels and all pregnant women. Check out this post on how to pick out a studio that's best for you!
The barre classes I go to does cardio bursts in the workout, and I can get up into the high 140's. If you're looking into trying out some barre classes while pregnant, call the studio ahead of time to ask about the class format, and be sure to wear your heart rate monitor and/or listen to your body for signs of fatigue. Bring water and make sure to take "breathers" or moments where you rest.
|I use the Garmin Vivofit|
If you weren't a fitness guru before becoming pregnant, I wouldn't recommend starting with a circuit training or HIIT class. Even when I'm not going full-out, I get into the 150's-160's and I'm regularly the only one standing in the class, panting and watching my wrist for my heart rate to come down. I don't mind though, because I couldn't care less how foolish I do or don't look. That's been the glory of getting older; you simply stop caring what others think!
If you're pregnant or looking to get pregnant soon, I recommend investing in a good heart rate monitor. It has helped me stay far more active with this pregnancy than with my first! I can do all the fitness classes I love while still keeping myself and my baby in safe and healthy heart rate ranges.