Any pregnant woman is bound to face the usual challenges of how to adjust workouts for baby—but what happens to your ability to stay fit when you’re pregnant with more than one little one? Celebrity yoga and pilates instructor, TV personality, and mama of multiples, Kristin McGee answered our top questions regarding working out while pregnant with multiples: what to do, what to avoid, how to modify, and how to stay safe and healthy.
*Reminder: Every pregnancy is different and that goes double (or triple ha!) for pregnancy with multiples. What’s possible for someone else’s body may not be for yours. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any workout program or changing your current fitness routine while pregnant.
Why is a pregnancy with multiples different than being pregnant with one baby?
“Pregnancy with multiples can be more high risk and that’s why moms need to be more careful. Schedule extra doctors appointments. It’s also important to realize you’re at a higher risk of preeclampsia or getting put on bed rest, higher hormone levels, and more nausea and fatigue. Practically speaking, your belly gets much bigger, much sooner. At 32 weeks, you’re the size of most 40-week mamas. Also, many twin babies arrive early—around 35-37 weeks, so I suggest focusing on rest, hydration, and vitamins before anything else.
Can you even work out while pregnant with multiples?
What sorts of modifications should you keep in mind, if expecting more than one baby?
“Avoid letting your heart rate get too high (keep it below 140 bpm), always listen to your body, and stay hydrated. Stay away from inversions during yoga (unless you are super experienced) and avoid deep twisting. Overall, take breaks as needed.”
Are there any physical activities that women pregnant with multiples should 100 percent avoid?
“Avoid high-intensity interval training. Avoid activities such as skiing, cycling, and horseback riding because there is a risk of falling. Steer clear of any sport that is new to you and anything where you risk getting hit, like tennis, softball, and kickboxing, of course!”
If you are able to workout while pregnant with multiples, how do things like nutrition, rest, and hydration play a part?
“Mothers carrying multiples need to eat additional calories, so take that into mind. Eat whole grains, plenty of healthy fats, and keep snacks on you at all times since you’ll get hungry often. Water is super important, so aim to drink 10-16 cups of water a day! Rest when you need to and get plenty of sleep —you won’t have any once the babies are born!”
What are some warning signs to stop exercising while pregnant with more than one baby?
“Shortness of breath, pain in the abdomen, fatigue, headache ,and dizziness are all big warning signs. Also, think of the “talk” test—if you’re not able to have a conversation, you may need to ease up.”
What are the benefits of working out for moms carrying multiples?
“There are numerous benefits to staying active during a pregnancy with multiples. I personally worked out to the very end, made it to 38 weeks and had a 7 lb 1 oz boy and a 6 lb 8 oz boy. Exercise is healthy for the babies. It keeps your blood flowing and is great for circulation and good for keeping muscle tone. It is awesome for the core and support of your babies. It’s also good for your mood, helps you keep your weight in check (although you will gain more with twins there is no need to go overboard), helps you sleep better, and will help you recover faster after delivery.”
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