Keeping up with Kim Kardashian just got a bit easier.
Doctors reportedly ordered the pregnant 32-year-old to take it easy after she was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital fearing she was having a miscarriage. While Kardashian and her baby are fine, the reality star was told to get more rest, the New York Post reported.
This prescription may be tough to swallow for the jet-setting and exercise-loving Kardashian. One source told the Post that the star has been working out with two separate trainers to keep her baby weight in check.
But while exercise during pregnancy can be safe when done in moderation (and after consulting a physician), how much is too much?
“There’s a lot of information out there about exercise — what you should or shouldn’t do during your pregnancy — but it really varies from patient to patient,” says Dr. Angela Walker, a member of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“If a woman was physically active before her pregnancy, most of the time she’s able to maintain it with limitations,” adds Walker. “The recommendation is 30 minutes on most, if not all days of the week. If a woman wasn’t exercising before her pregnancy, she may want to adopt a regimen slowly, with no heavy lifting and a physician monitoring.”
While Kardashian may have been overdoing it, there are benefits to exercising during pregnancy. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, being active can reduce physical aches as well as increase energy, improve mood and posture, promote better sleep and tone muscles. Regular activity also helps maintain a healthy weight, making it easier to shed the pounds after giving birth.
“Exercising during pregnancy isn’t just about maintaining a healthy weight,” says Leah Keller, a personal trainer who specializes in pre- and postnatal fitness. “It’s also training for labor, a really demanding physical ordeal.
Keller also believes there’s only a small percentage of women working out too much, and most pregnant women shouldn’t let Kim Kardashian’s story from scaring them into becoming inactive.
"Change a little bit about how you work out," she says. "Add simple cardio, yoga or resistance training to nourish your body and help alleviate back pain. Listen to your body and cut back to the point where you feel good. Exercising should make you feel invigorated afterward. If you feel drained, you’re working out too hard," she says. Keller also advises pregnant women to "drink lots of water, avoid overheating and no contact sports.”
If there’s one thing women can learn from Kardashian’s alleged ordeal, it’s paying close attention to your body and seeing a doctor immediately if any aches arise.
“Certain pains are benign, meaning no negative consequences,” says Walker. “There could be ligament pain associated with pregnancy. She may feel a contraction that may not be dangerous if it isn’t continuous. But you should always investigate what may have been the source of the pain.”
And for those who are worried about packing on the pregnancy pounds? Lisa M. Valle, DO, stresses for all women to be evaluated medically before implementing a regular workout routine.
“Your obstetrical provider should discuss with you your recommended weight again at the first obstetrical visit,” says Valle. “This is based on your Body Mass Index, and utilizes your pre-pregnancy weight to estimate your recommended weight gain. Your weight will be evaluated at each visit. If too much weight gain is noted, your provider will discuss with you your diet and physical activity.”
And the easiest workout routine of all? You’re already familiar with it.
"I am a big proponent of walking,” says Valle. “I always have an issue with those ‘Expectant Mothers’ parking spots close to store entrances."
But for those who, like Kardashian, may be still wary of weight gain, the key is to relax.
“I highly recommend pregnant women include a stress-relieving activity like yoga, a non-weight-bearing activity like swimming and a weight-bearing activity, such as using dumbbells or kettle bells,” explains trainer Ben Greenfield, an expert in fitness, nutrition and sports science.
“There should never be the same amount of exercise stress someone might expose themselves to when training for something like a marathon. Growing a healthy baby is enough for the body to handle.”