DO a quick search online and you will quickly discover it’s a minefield of information and advice that can often contradict itself; ‘you shouldn’t lift’, ‘only do Prenatal Yoga’, ‘stop all abdominal exercise’ and ‘don’t train at all’.
There is a shortage of quality information on weight training during pregnancy. We took a look at what was out there.
It may be inevitable that through fear, you may stop working out. You may end up feeling down, cranky and out of control.
Over the years we’ve trained many pre and post-natal with great success, as well as so many other coaches and ladies out there. Yes, I’ve never been through pregnancy myself but I love seeing the transition these ladies go through, giving them a sense of control whilst growing a little person.
Some research suggests that you need to ‘support your body’ through pregnancy and ‘get it prepared’ for labour and thereafter. Sitting on the couch might not help your body get ready but we are not raging against it either. It may suit some more than others and there are many complex reasons why some women would have to opt for taking things easy.
Some research suggests that strength training can keep your changing body as strong, stable, and comfortable as possible and that prenatal exercise can help you recover postpartum and may help you feel strong and powerful once again.
The following are questions and answers the latter being taken from a range of sources, which is meant as information for your consideration not as personal advice to follow. You should always consult your doctor during pregnancy as there can be complications as a result of strenuous exercise during pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common questions.
#1 Is Lifting Weights Dangerous for You and Your Baby?
#2 Don’t Train those Abs or You’ll Separate Your Abdominals
If you want to be terribly uncomfortable and have debilitating back pain, then yes, this is sound advice. Not what we’re going for though, is it?
Correct abdominal training can be really important during pregnancy due to your changes in posture and weight being on the front of your body.
Abdominal separation, or Diastasis Recti (DR) as it’s known, is a real thing that many women in pregnancy experience and happens because that little person is pressing on them. This can cause the tissue connecting the abs to get very soft and thin.
The plus is that having a stronger core can help reduce DR and help speed up recovery postpartum.
There are specific exercises that research says you should not do that can increase the DR, for example sit-ups, crunches and front planks.
What can you do? You may be able to do Pallof pressing, dead bugs, farmers walk, diaphragmatic breathing exercises, and of course pelvic floor exercises.
#3 You’ll Increase Your Risk of Injury Because You’re Unstable
Okay, yes your body may become unstable. It is like a chemical explosion in your body with hormone changes going on, one of which is an increase in the hormone Relaxin. As you can imagine, Relaxin makes your tendons and ligaments more flexible which is essential for carrying your baby and getting through labour.
Strength Training may improve stability. Having a tailored strength training program may help alleviate those aches and pains such as the lower/upper back. Whats more, if you are new to strength training you may be able to start during pregnancy.
NB: Always consult your doctor first.