Question on safe heart rate for pregnancy?


I'm 26weeks pregnant, and was told by my Dr. that I can/should exercise during my pregnancy, and not to exceed 140 bpm. Taking a 10 second count, this works out to 23 beats in 10 seconds, right? Well being the paranoid person that I am, I stop to take my pulse about every 5-10 minutes. Is this the correct way to do it or am I really being silly?
Also, out of curiousity - what is the reasoning behind the 140 bpm? Are they afraid the mom will faint, or does it restrict bloodflow to the baby, or something else? Thanks!


Heart rate monitoring for prenatal exercise

Hi Candace,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am glad that you have found our forum and have begun utilizing it. Now for your question regarding heart rate monitoring…

In February 1994, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued new guidelines for prenatal exercise (Bulletin # 189: February, 1994), which replaced the older, original guidelines issued in 1985. These 1994 guidelines no longer recommend heart rate monitoring as an assessment of how hard a woman is working out (exercise intensity) while pregnant. Human research has shown that heart rate monitoring is not a valid indicator of exercise intensity during pregnancy. Instead, "Rating of Perceived Exertion" or RPE is recommended. Here's how it works… On a scale of 0-10, if 0 is lying in bed and 10 is running up the Washington Monument with twins on your back, you should be between a 5-6, an intensity of "fairly light to somewhat hard," while working out. You can also utilize the "Talk Test" to measure intensity. This means that you should be able to say 2-5 word sentences while working out.

Hope this helps! Let us hear from you again.


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