When you find out you are pregnant, your mind immediately turns to your lifestyle and what you can still continue to do. You may need to consider changes to your food intake, alcoholic consumption and workload.
Another thing to consider is your exercise regime. If you are into lifting weight, it’s important to uncover the relationship between pregnancy and lifting weight.
The good news is that lifting weights is a great way to stay fit during pregnancy. The focus during these nine months should be on maintaining your fitness and not making any dramatic gains. In addition, when lifting weight while pregnant, you need to take some precautions to avoid injury to yourself and your baby. If you have never lifted weights, then during pregnancy is not the time to start. In this case, stick to low impact exercise like walking or stationary cycling.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind for pregnancy and lifting weight!
• First off, discuss your pregnancy and lifting weight plans with your doctor so that he or she can provide you with some guidance. If you’re on track for a normal, healthy pregnancy then lifting weight shouldn’t be of concern. However, if you have a history of pregnancy complications or miscarriage, you may be asked to avoid lifting weight while pregnant.
• When you are pregnant, your body releases hormones, which causes the ligaments to soften. This hormone release can mean that your joints are less stable.
It’s important not to overextend during any exercise. Again, remember not to increase the amount you were lifting, but maintain the same level as before. Use light weights and do more repetitions!
• As your belly grows, pregnancy and weight lifting can be a little more difficult because your centre of gravity shifts.
This shift can put more stress on your back and make your more susceptible to injury. The gravity shift can also cause you to be more off balance than usual. Just use caution!
• While pregnant, avoid lifting weight while lying flat on your back. This position decreases blood flow to the uterus, not to mention, that it can be uncomfortable as the baby presses on your internal organs.
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking plenty of water during pregnancy and lifting weight is extremely important. Remember, your body requires additional fluids while pregnant, you don’t want to dehydrate during exercise.
• Do not lift weights that are too heavy that cause you to forcefully exhale when releasing your weight. This exhalation could constrict the airflow to the uterus. In addition, when lifting free weights, be sure to lift slowly and carefully so that you don’t drop them or accidentally hit your protruding abdomen.
• Listen to the cues your body is giving you. If the extreme fatigue of pregnancy is getting you down, don’t push yourself. Perhaps you may need to cut down the number of times you weight train. You are growing a baby inside of you and that can take a lot of energy!
While pregnant and lifting weight, here are some great exercises that can actually help prepare you for a safe and healthy delivery. A great suggestion is meeting with a personal trainer who can help design a pregnancy weight training program that will see you through your trimesters.
• Hip abductor machines are great because building strength in your hips can help overcome postural changes. Remember to tighten your abs to avoid hyper extending your back.
• You can keep doing squats; just decrease the range of motion. If you slow down the pace, you’ll still get a great workout for the leg muscles.
• Avoid traditional sit-ups because as mentioned previously, the supine position is not recommended. Instead, sit on a fit ball to practice core stabilization and don’t forget your kegels!
• The military press is great for your arms and shoulders. You need to keep them strong because you are going to be doing a lot of lifting and holding of the baby!
• The seated row with a resistance band is a great exercise for strengthening the middle back. Many women have back problems during pregnancy due to the weight of the abdomen. A strong back can help alleviate this issue.
So, pregnancy and lifting weight can go hand in hand. Just follow these precautions and listen to your body and you’ll have a strong, fit body throughout your pregnancy and beyond.
All the best,
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.