Staying active during pregnancy is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prepare for childbirth, but it’s important to make sure you’re exercising safely.
One key factor to consider is your heart rate: exercising at a level that’s too high can be dangerous for both you and your baby. So, what is a safe heart rate for exercise while pregnant?
Let’s take a closer look at this important topic and discuss some tips for staying active in a healthy way during pregnancy.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Recommendation for Exercise During Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has put forth recommendations for exercise during pregnancy, stating that pregnant women should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.
This is in line with the guidelines for non-pregnant women who exercise to maintain or increase their fitness levels. It is important for pregnant women to stay active as it has numerous benefits for both the mother and baby, including improved mood and sleep, reduced risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, and easier labor and delivery.
While there once was a belief that a maximum heart rate of 140 BPM should not be exceeded during exercise while pregnant, this has been debunked by ACOG.
They now recommend that women exercise while still being able to talk comfortably, which indicates that their heart rate is within a safe and manageable range.
It is also recommended that beginners start with shorter exercise sessions and gradually work their way up.
Swimming and water workouts are particularly beneficial for pregnant women as they are easy on the joints and provide a full-body workout.
Heart Rate Guidelines for Pregnant Women
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women maintain a heart rate that doesn’t exceed 140 beats per minute.
This guideline was established after a study determined that this was a safe maximum heart rate for pregnant women during exercise. It’s important to note that this heart rate limit isn’t a hard and fast rule for every pregnant woman.
The resting heart rate range for healthy individuals varies, and it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best heart rate range for you during exercise.
Starting with shorter exercise sessions and gradually increasing the intensity is a good way to ensure safe exercise during pregnancy.
Moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week is also recommended for pregnant women.
ACOG Study Determining Maximum Heart Rate for Pregnancy Exercise
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) conducted a study in 1985, which led to their recommendation of a maximum heart rate of 140 beats per minute for pregnant women during physical activity.
However, in recent years, many trainers and experts have recognized the outdated nature of this guideline and have eliminated it altogether. ACOG’s initial recommendations, which set this limit, have since been updated to allow pregnant women to exercise at a moderate intensity, pushing their heart rate up to 150 BPM or beyond, depending on their fitness level.
While studies have demonstrated that moderate increases in fetal heart rate during or after exercise are normal, women who exercise at intensities above 150 beats per minute for durations longer than 40 minutes in the third trimester may see no added benefits.
Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women aim for a lower exercise target heart rate and engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week to improve their overall health and well-being.
Starting with shorter exercise sessions and incorporating water workouts like swimming can also be beneficial.
The importance of exercise during pregnancy cannot be overstated, and it is essential to dispel the myth of a 140 beats per minute heart rate limit during pregnancy.
Resting Heart Rate Range for Healthy Individuals
It’s important to note that a healthy resting heart rate can vary depending on the individual. Generally, the range is from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
However, during pregnancy, it’s normal for a woman’s resting heart rate to increase. This is due to the body’s increased blood volume and the demands of growing a baby.
It’s important for pregnant women to listen to their bodies and not base their exercise intensity solely on their target heart rate.
This target heart rate can vary depending on the fitness level of the mom-to-be, but it can be anywhere from 110 to 150 beats per minute.
The most important thing is to engage in moderate-intensity exercise and to gradually increase the duration and intensity of workouts.
Remember, staying active during pregnancy can offer a host of benefits for both mom and baby.
Recommended Amount of Moderate-Intensity Exercise
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant or postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.
This translates to 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
Moderate-intensity activity means that you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating, but you can still talk normally.
It’s important to note that exercise intensity can vary depending on an individual’s regular activity level, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and work at a level that is comfortable for you.
Starting with shorter exercise sessions for beginners is recommended, gradually increasing duration and intensity if you feel up to it.
Engaging in physical activity during pregnancy has numerous benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, improving mood, promoting better sleep, and reducing the risk of pregnancy complications.
Pregnant women should aim to work at less than 75% of their maximum heart rate, with moderate-intensity exercise being the goal.
Start With Shorter Exercise Sessions for Beginners
Starting with shorter exercise sessions is important for beginners during pregnancy. It allows their bodies to adjust gradually to the increased physical activity.
As previously mentioned, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
However, this may not be possible for everyone, especially those who are new to exercise. Starting with shorter sessions, such as 10 to 15 minutes a day, can be a great way to ease into a regular exercise routine.
As their fitness level improves, they can gradually increase the duration and intensity of their workouts. It’s important to listen to the body and avoid overexertion.
With consistency and patience, beginners can achieve the recommended goal of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Lower Exercise Target Heart Rate for Pregnant Women
According to recent guidelines, the exercise target heart rate for pregnant women should be set 25-30% lower than pre-pregnancy levels. While there is no limit on heart rate for pregnant women, it is still important to avoid over-exertion and listen to your body.
Many beginners may want to start with low-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming, gradually building up to moderate intensity activity. It’s important to note that the maximum heart rate is different for everyone and is based on age.
For a healthy pregnant woman at 30 years old, this would be around 190 BPM. Additionally, water workouts like swimming can be extremely beneficial during pregnancy as they alleviate pressure on joints and reduce the risk of injury.
Regular exercise during pregnancy has numerous benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and even reducing the risk of gestational diabetes.
Benefits of Swimming and Water Workouts
Swimming and water workouts are highly beneficial for pregnant women. The water provides support for the growing baby and makes it easier to move against resistance, keeping the heart rate up without putting stress on the joints.
Furthermore, swimming helps to tone the body without adding any excess weight, while also increasing cardiovascular endurance.
It has been shown that pregnant women who exercise in the water experience fewer fetal heart rate fluctuations compared to those who exercise on land.
This makes it a safe option for maintaining fitness during pregnancy. Additionally, water workouts are great for reducing swelling and providing a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the body.
Therefore, swimming and water workouts should be considered by all pregnant women looking to stay active and maintain their physical health.