Should You Strength Train In Pregnancy?

If you have been into regular exercising, aerobics and strength training, being pregnant should not be the end of your practice sessions. Debunking pregnancy myths, one of the latest finds of pregnancy research has been acknowledging the benefit of strength training while expecting. Strength training in pregnancy is often doubted without proper evidence and if you have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, there is no reason to stop training. It not only strengthens your body from within but also enhances your endurance that will come in handy while pushing out that baby. The trick is to increase the repetitions instead of increasing weights because that helps you to stay safer with all the body weight you are already carrying around.

How Does Strength Training Help?

  • Builds muscle strength and tone to reduce cramping, swelling and all sorts of pulls and sprains common in pregnancy.
  • Keeps you flexible and active in pregnancy
  • Increases your endurance that helps in labour and childbirth
  • Keeps your pelvic floor strong1 and intact so as to prevent incontinence during and after delivery.
  • Helps you lose the weight gained in pregnancy sooner so getting back to your pre-pregnancy form is easier.

What To Avoid While Strength Training?

  1. Try and avoid fast-paced movements. Slow and controlled moves would avoid injuries.
  2. Walking lunges are not recommended during pregnancy because they tend to be injurious to the pelvis.
  3. Never add weights unless your trainer and you yourself feel absolutely comfortable. Instead, try more repetitions.
  4. Skip any exercise that requires you to lie down because that puts unnecessary weight on the growing belly, your baby and your back.
  5. Your centre of gravity shifts in pregnancy so always try to sit down while lifting weights. This avoids accidental falls.
  6. Anything heavier than 10 pounds should not be lifted.

When Should You Avoid Strength Training Altogether?

  • If your doctor has advised bed rest, there is no reason to take chances.
  • If you have a low-lying placenta, you should not risk it at all.
  • If you have had unexplained vaginal bleeding, please stay away from weights.
  • If your pressure fluctuates, you could have a tendency to fall down. Avoid weights as far as possible.

How To Start And What To Remember?

If you have never done strength training before, now is generally not the good time to start new things but if you are keen on it, try taking it slow. Set your own standards and work accordingly.

Let your trainer know that you are pregnant and allow him to determine the repetitions and weights you need.

Light stretching and warm up walks are essential to avoid sudden cramps.

Always keep yourself well-hydrated before, during and after the session.

Work out at a moderate pace and try not overdoing it. While it is safe to strength train in pregnancy, it is also advised to keep a tab on how your body is taking it. Listen to the cues of your body and if at any point, your body needs to slow down, respond to it and give yourself adequate rest.