Is It Safe To Lift Weights When You're Pregnant?Sep 11, 2023
When you first find out you're pregnant, so many questions of what you can or cannot do start to filter through your brain. One of the questions we get in our community frequently is: Is it safe to workout or lift weights during pregnancy? The short answer is "yes!" According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, exercising during pregnancy has minimal risks and has a host of benefits that I will outline below. They recommend that pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies participate in a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week including resistance training.
When it comes to lifting weights, modifications will need to be made during fetal development to accommodate the growing size of your abdomen. However, general questions to ask yourself while exercising or lifting weights might be:
- Is this causing me pain?
- Am I holding my breath too long?
- Do I feel light headed or nauseous?
These are examples of times where you need to take a break, grab some water and consider modifications or deferring the work out. Common modifications are decreasing the load/weight, decreasing your depth, focusing on your breath like exhaling with exertion. It is also a good idea in between sets to practice pelvic floor relaxation exercises like these.
Not only is it safe, but here are some benefits to adding weights to your routine:
- Improves labor and delivery outcomes. There is a higher chance of having a vaginal delivery, decreases your recovery time, and helps you prep for the endurance required for labor.
- Improved mental well-being. Strength training can help with stress management by releasing endorphins, boost self esteem and body image.
- Improves joint stability. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin allows for your tissues to stretch appropriately to grow and deliver a baby. Unfortunately, those effects spread throughout the body. Strength training can improve the stability around your joints which will mitigate common aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
- Improves strength overall. Women can lose up to 30% in their muscle strength during pregnancy and this is expected. Our goal is to maintain what you can, which will help with all of the functional activities you need to do before and after delivery.
- Improve posture and alignment. Strength training while you are developing and growing will also help mitigate the aches and pains associated with pregnancy as well as improve your core strength. Low back pain is very common to experience both before and after delivery.
At Athletes’ Potential, we are fitness forward practice that knows firsthand these benefits for you and knows how to curate a plan during your pregnancy journey. We are qualified experts to provide you a program if you do not know where to start. If you are already experiencing some aches and pains or you would like to prevent them, reach out or come visit our clinic in Decatur for your individualized program.
Dr. Krystal PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
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Remember, Movement is Medicine!