This Is Why Doctors Tell Some Pregnant People To Take It Easy

Photo: Mike Nelson/EPA/REX/Shutterstock.
Yesterday, Coachella headliner and pregnant person Beyoncé pulled out of the festival. According to the official statement, the decision was due to her doctor's recommendation to keep a "less rigorous schedule" in the coming months. But is she being overly cautious, or is there really a reason not to stick with your usual schedule and activity levels while pregnant?
For the most part, there's really no reason to significantly change up your physical activity when you're expecting. As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) explains, working out while pregnant doesn't increase your risk for a miscarriage, an early delivery, or your baby having a low birth weight.
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In fact, the CDC recommends that pregnant people get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week (e.g. brisk walking, swimming, or modified yoga). It's just as good for your mood and overall health as it is when you're not pregnant, and continuing to work out can help you get better sleep as well as ease backaches and digestion issues.
However, you might have to make some adjustments to your routine. That's partly because of your changing anatomy: While pregnant, you might notice aching joints, shifting balance, and a reduced ability to keep up your breath during more strenuous exercise. And, of course, as your uterus and belly expand, certain positions will be harder to get into (or out of!), and you might need a belly support during some types of exercise. Many doctors also recommend against lying on your back for extended periods once you're in or close to your third trimester, so that could limit certain movements as well.
In other cases, your doctor might advise against a particular activity because it's too strenuous (e.g. powerlifting) or straight-up dangerous (e.g. contact sports). The main concern when it comes to intense activities is that they may increase the amount of oxygen and blood flowing to your muscles and, therefore, away from your uterus. But if you're simply continuing a workout you were doing regularly before you became pregnant, the Mayo Clinic explains, this is less likely to be a concern.
On the other hand, if you have certain health conditions or complications with your pregnancy, your doctor might tell you to really dial back your physical activity. You're at a higher risk for developing many of those conditions (e.e. preeclampsia) if you, like Bey, are carrying twins. And, considering how intense her workouts and rehearsal schedule tend to be, it's understandable that Bey would need to take this round a little easier than her normal superhuman regimen would allow.
As always, each pregnancy is different, and some women (who presumably have low-risk pregnancies and aren't experience many limitations on their movement) have no reason to dial back. For instance, we've all no doubt seen those badass ladies lifting serious weight while pregnant. It's also worth remembering that health-wise, it's not just the exercise you're doing that matters during pregnancy — your diet (keeping things balanced, with enough protein to sustain your workouts) and your risks for other conditions (such as gestational diabetes) also need to be taken into account. So it's crucial to check in with your doctor about your lifestyle, work-related demands, and exercise early on in your pregnancy so you can make a plan as everything progresses. And if anyone questions your need to take it easier than usual, tell 'em "Boy, bye."
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