Is Weight Training During Pregnancy Allowed?
It`s almost common knowledge that pregnant women should avoid lifting heavy objects or weight training during pregnancy, if they practice this sport for the first time. The accidents that may occur due to such an effort can be dangerous for both the mother and fetus. The reasons are even more justified as the pregnancy evolves.
Among the advice that you receive from mothers, aunts, friends or other female persons when you announce you are pregnant, it`s also the classic “be careful not to lift anything heavy.” The idea is sometimes taken literally by many women who won`t carry anything more than their purse throughout their pregnancy. Any shopping bag will be passed on to the husband, just as the task of moving various objects around the house.
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Is Weight Training during Pregnancy Allowed?
Although weight training is mostly for competitive bodybuilders and professional athletes and isn`t really a sport to be practiced during pregnancy, if you have been practicing this sport for a while now until becoming pregnant, you are probably safe to continue with it, if you follow these tips:
- First, check with the doctor: It goes without mentioning that you should talk to a doctor or midwife to see if it`s ok to lift weights now.
- Always use correct lifting methods: If you don`t this in the past, you probably know what you do. However, the golden rule now is to avoid weights that are too heavy.
- Lifting weights while lying on the back isn`t an option now: Some exercises from the whole weight training arsenal are now forbidden, like lifting weights when you lie on the back.
- Always use correct breathing techniques: During lifting, you have to exhale as you exert, and then inhale as you`ll return to the original position.
- Adjust the strength-training routine as required: Now you need to aim for a workout level of moderate intensity. – Click for more!
- Avoid doing lunges with weights. This type of exercise may increase the risk of pelvic connective tissue damage.
- You need rest between workouts: Give yourself enough time to rest between training sessions. Aiming for 3 sessions per week and a pause of 48 hours between sessions should be enough.
- Using common sense is a must: Always use caution when lifting weights and use equipment that are functioning well and in good working order. Free weights should be kept away from contacting the belly.
- Listen to what the body tells you: Your routine should be a bit challenging, but not going into excess or until you feel exhausted. You are not winning any tournaments here. Paying attention to any warning signs of overtraining that may show a problem is mandatory.
- Don`t use the Valsalva maneuver: During this maneuver, you forced exhalations without releasing the air. This may cause a sudden increase of blood pressure as well as intra-abdominal pressure, with the drop of oxygen reaching the baby.
Consider This When Lifting Heavy Objects
Of course, the period of pregnancy shouldn`t be a moment when you start doing weight training. Still, if you already have some kind of an experience and you practice a set of exercises regularly a few times per week, you can continue weight training during pregnancy as well. Weight lifting is a good way to maintain your shape throughout pregnancy and can offer a lot of benefits after birth. Still, now the main objective should be to maintain your shape and not a significant development of muscle groups. Try to find a personal training that has experience in working with future mothers.
As long as you follow these recommendations – to work the muscles of your chest, back, limb or shoulder in standing or leaning position and don`t use weights greater than 2 to 6 pounds – you can continue weight training during pregnancy safely.
It`s important for a pregnant woman to take all the necessary precautions when lifting weights, either at the gym or on daily activities.
- Just as in the case of weight training, you must follow the same basics when lifting heavy objects as well. The most important is to listen to your body and pat attention what is going on physically. If you feel any muscle contraction or excessive fatigue, change the exercise that you are doing or their frequency. Now it`s not the time to overdo it.
- A pregnant woman shouldn`t lift more than 15 kg during pregnancy, and this is valid for women with a healthy pregnancy as well.
- If the future mother has experienced miscarriages or complications in a previous pregnancy, the maximum number of kilograms that she`s allowed to lift is established together with her doctor who supervises her pregnancy; it`s possible for some women to not be allowed to lift weights at all while expecting.
- When a pregnant woman leans to lift something, she should first bend her knees, keep her back straight (use her legs more than her back) and bring the object closer to her body when she tries to lift it. This way, she`ll avoid twisting and stretching towards it, by lifting herself on her toes and not forcing her back.
- Pay attention to anything heavy that may fall on your abdomen.
The Mother`s Health May Be Affected
The fetus isn`t directly affected by this “extreme sport” that some women practice while expecting. Just because they feel good and don`t show any complications that could immobilize them in bed, some pregnant women may have the tendency to move their furniture by themselves or carry extremely bags from the supermarket. – Find out more!
When you are pregnant, the ligaments and tendons become softer, and the joints are less stable, so there`s some risk of injuries when falling.
That`s why, it`s not recommended for pregnant women to involve in activities that may put them in danger, and lifting weights is such an example.
Here you can read more on 50 Ways to Stay Healthy during Pregnancy
While the pregnancy evolves, there`s a higher pressure on the back. Your legs become more unstable, you can easily lose your balance, and the vulnerability to accidents increases. The back is already overloaded as the pregnancy evolves, and lifting weights may amplify this pressure, putting the spine in danger, but also affecting the local muscles.
The Fetus May Also Be in Danger
Any fallings resulted from loss of balance may endanger the fetus depending on how large the impact with the ground is or the objects around which the belly may hit. A strong fall may:
- Cause a miscarriage.
- Induce birth (before term).
- Determine the premature detachment of the fetus from the placenta.
Note: there are studies that show that frequent lifting of heavy objects can slightly increase the risk of miscarriage or birth of a baby with a low birth weight. So, focus on the terms “frequent lifting” and “easy.”