I don’t think we have ever written anything specific to exercise during pregnancy before. So, let’s get it straight, you should be exercising during your pregnancy. We are very lucky to be living in the digital age because information dissemination is way better than it was a decade or two ago. With clinical guidelines and recommendations promoting exercise during pregnancy, there is really no reason for you to not being working out when you are expecting anymore.
This is with the exception of situations where exercise is contraindicated. If you belong to this group, then yes please do rest as advised by our OBGYN.
What does TCM and the Bible say about exercise during pregnancy
Having grown up in an Asian culture, we do hear older Singaporeans recommending that pregnant women should not be exercising. According to them, exercising is a vigorous activity and can disturb the pregnancy. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) terms, it is described as “dong tai qi” or destabilising the vital energy “qi” of the growing fetus.
Modern TCM practitioners seem to be open to exercising during pregnancy. It is believed that exercise can help improve the “qi” energy and promote good blood flow for the mother. Some sources would claim that “hard” exercises are threatening for the fetus but current research large doesn’t seem to support this.
Moving away from Chinese culture, I also learnt that Bible reports Hebrew slave women to give birth more easily than their sedentary Egyptian mistresses. This does conform with my biases, and my anecdotal experiences working with pregnant clients as a chiropractor.
What does science say about exercising while pregnant?
For the record, clinical studies are not able to demonstrate that vigorous exercise such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) is detrimental to the growing fetus. As for strength training, most sources recommend light to moderate weight. There is also one study that was able to correlate lifting heavy load with an increase risk of preterm birth.
The latest study on exercising while pregnant recommends taking a holistic approach to exercising. The authors recommend addressing all components of physical fitness such as cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility.
Are they benefits for pregnant ladies to exercise?
Not surprisingly, yes.
If you were to exercise during your pregnancy, you can avoid urinary incontinence, reduce your risk of developing low back pain, reduced symptoms of depression, have better control of gestational weight gain control, etc. For those with gestational diabetes, you can reduce the chances of requiring insulin medication to manage blood sugar levels!
Despite all of these documented benefits, most women still do not meet recommended levels of exercise while they are expecting!
Consider the FITT framework to design your exercise programme
The FITT framework is an easy approach to make sure that you are getting enough exercise during your pregnancy:
- Frequency: 3-4 times per week
- Intensity: moderate to vigorous levels, can be monitored either through target heart rate zone (with a heart rate monitor) or rate of perceived exertion (subjective reporting)
- Time: 30 minutes, if you are new to exercise start from 15 minutes and work your way up
- Type: cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility.
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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.
*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.