We had a call today from a client who did a make-up in a Pilates class and was concerned participants spent some of the class lying on their back while exercising. The client was very concerned that women should never lie on their back during pregnancy.
First, that’s not true. Pregnant women can lie on their back. Some can do it for longer than others. It’s truly dependent on where the baby is growing in a woman’s body and if the vena cava (the big blood vessel) is being squished by pressure from the baby. If that happens, a woman will feel some discomfort, maybe some dizziness, and she will sit up and change position. A woman’s BODY will let her know if the baby is in any danger and will communicate that to her by discomfort and dizziness, and she will CHANGE HER POSITION. That’s why a lot of pregnant women will wake up from sleep on their back. Their body wakes them up to get them to turn on their side.
In terms of this specific case, we let the client know that very, very few women (less than 10%) have this condition — supine hypotensive syndrome. And that a woman’s body would ALWAYS let her know if this was going on.
In our classes we modify many of our exercises to make them side-lying or to minimize time on the back, just because it’s easier to have everyone learn the modified exercises.
That being said, I think that larger lesson is the important one, and can’t be overstated.
Worried about exercising on your back? Worried about your heart rate during exercise? Worried that fill-in-the-blank exercise isn’t safe during pregnancy?
The lesson is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You should never do an exercise if it doesn’t feel safe for you. You should always be able to talk comfortably during a workout. If you’re gasping for air or are having difficulty breathing—stop exercising.
Paying attention to your body is the very best way to ensure you are working out in a safe manner. Want to get a safe workout?? Listen to your body’s cues.