Now that you're expecting, you may have noticed that everyone around you seems to be a medical expert. You've likely been bombarded with tips from your friends, sister, mother-in-law, and even perfect strangers about what is and isn't safe for you to be doing as your bump grows. While those around you mean well, all the advice you end up getting can be conflicting, confusing, and downright wrong. Fear not: We've sorted through the flood of information and spoken to top experts to debunk some of the most commonly shared myths.
The Myth: You shouldn't get your heart rate above 140.
When it comes to getting exercise, even your physician may have advised you to keep your heart rate at or below 140 -- but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) abolished this edict years ago. "There isn't a hard-and-fast rule for heart rate anymore because it's not always a good indicator of how hard you're working," says Annette Lang, a New York City fitness expert specializing in pre- and postnatal training.
If you're very fit, you may find that getting your heart rate above 140 isn't particularly taxing -- but if you're an exercise newbie, that number might be far too high. The bottom line, according to Lang: Pregnant women should work out at a moderate level. How to know when you're there? Use the talk test as a measure of exertion; you should be slightly breathless but still able to carry on a conversation, says Jon Snyder, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University School of Medicine. If you're panting, slow things down, and if you're able to chat easily, ramp your effort up. As long as you feel okay, it's probably safe to continue with the activities you were doing prior to pregnancy, including running and spinning, says Lang. You might just need to take the intensity down a notch as you get bigger.