Last week we talked about why the advice to “continue the same workout you did before pregnancy” wasn’t entirely true. This week, we’re debunking another common myth during pregnancy.
Prenatal Exercise Myth: You can’t get your heart beat above 140bpm’s.
Why this myth exists
The heart rate cap was introduced in 1985 by the ACOG. They based this number on a small amount of research, mostly performed on animals and believed that strenuous exercise could affect the fetal heart rate and birth weight of a baby. Even though they lacked the evidence showing either to be true. This was debunked in 1994 by the ACOG but unfortunately, news doesn’t travel very fast and doctors still tell their patients this today.
One size doesn’t fit all. Women who workout are from all different backgrounds, genetics, fitness levels, and overall levels of health. 140bpm’s on an athlete or woman that pushes her workouts hard does not have the same effect as it does on a woman who has zero to little fitness in her life. That’s why we now use what’s called the “Talk Test” or “Perceived level of exertion”.
The “talk test” being, if you can still talk during a workout and you aren’t completely breathless, you are fine to keep pushing.
The “perceived level of exertion” is being able to push yourself up to a 9 on a scale of 1-10. 10 is working to the point of passing out…we never want to go there, but a 9 is completely do-able, even during pregnancy.