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Experts Corner

Fitness

Heart Rate While Exercising in Pregnancy
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. I have read a bit about heart rate during exercise while pregnant. I have read estimates as low as 140 bpm but then heard my doctor say that she's had marathon runners run up until they're due. What's a good safe guideline to follow? I am currently in good shape and work out regularly with a heart rate monitor.

A. Toss the heart rate monitor, at least during your pregnancy, and listen to your body instead! The most recent ACOG guidelines for exercise during pregnancy make no mention of heart rate limitations; rather, they recommend using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). All that means is to pay close attention to your body's signals as to when you've had enough. It's okay to sweat; it's okay to breathe hard; it's okay to get a bit red in the face; IT'S NOT OKAY TO PASS OUT FROM OVER-EXERTION!

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