Are you a fitness enthusiast who is curious about how your workout routine will change while pregnant?
While it is important to exercise while pregnant to stay fit, you will need to make some changes to your routine, especially if you lift weights. There are numerous ways to modify your workout while still getting the necessary exercise.
Experts say it is safe to lift weights during pregnancy as long as:
1. You have consulted with your doctor beforehand.
2. You do not have any pregnancy-related health issues.
3. You used to do resistance exercise and strength training before pregnancy, as pregnancy is not the time to begin a new weight lifting program.
Benefits of Lifting Weights During Pregnancy
Strength training helps with pregnancy pains
Strength training improves your body's ability to tolerate pain by increasing the strength of your muscles and bones. The increase in strength can aid in your pregnancy by relieving back pain and strengthening your joints.
Increase in strength during labor
Labor pains can be excruciating, so if you strengthen your body beforehand, you will be able to use that strength during labor. Lifting weights, for example, can improve stamina and muscle tone.
Helps you after your baby is born
It would be good to have your body conditioned as after birth, you will need to care for your baby around the clock. That includes caring for and lifting your baby (and strollers, car seats, etc.).
Improves your mood
Because of hormonal changes, pregnancy can be a difficult time. Exercise, particularly strength training, can improve your body image, hormonal changes, and overall mood by releasing endorphins, which are powerful neurotransmitters that relieve stress.
Helps to control weight
Pregnancy is a time when most moms put on more weight and this is completely normal. However, research shows that those who exercise regularly will put on 20 percent less weight than those who don’t. Too much weight gain during pregnancy can lead to other issues like hypertension, gestational diabetes, and obesity in your baby.
Precautions to Take When Lifting Weights
Each pregnancy is different and your exercise regime will determine the precautions you should take when you start your workout program. Listed below are some important precautions to take into consideration.
Do not lie on your back or your belly
When you lie on your back during the second or third trimester, your uterus compresses a major vein known as the vena cava which is responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood to your heart. This puts your baby in danger because it reduces the flow of blood oxygen to your baby.
Modify your routine so that you are upright or only at a slight incline instead of lying down. Also, remember not to use exercise machines that place any strain on your lower back or that press down on your belly.
Use lighter weights
Avoid high-impact exercises as you could be more prone to injury during pregnancy. This is because the placenta produces a hormone known as relaxin. This hormone loosens your ligaments and joints to prepare for delivery. Instead of using heavy weights, use lighter weights and increase your repetitions.
Maintain a strong lower back and avoid overstretching. If you want to add resistance training in your workout try using your body weight for exercises as a resistance.
Don’t lift weights above your head
As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus will shift forward and the orientation of your pelvis will change, along with a slight change in your center of gravity. You may notice a change in your posture including an arched lower back and slouched shoulders. After the first trimester, it is best to avoid lifting weights above your head or doing shoulder presses.
Do not put your body under too much stress when pregnant as it can cause lower back injury and weaken your abdominal muscles. Do not pick up heavy weights or do vigorous exercise because it will cause you to hold your breath. This can be dangerous for you and your baby as blood flow to the placenta will be reduced, and you might feel lightheaded and have cramping pains.
Remember to adjust your workout as needed. Listen to your body and aim for a moderate-intensity workout. Aim for about three sessions per week and remember to rest between sessions.
Pregnancy can be physically challenging, so it'll help feel you feel at your best in maternity clothes that are comfortable, soft and supportive.
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