If you’re already active, the second you find out you’re expecting you might start researching guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. Thankfully, your fitness routine can continue with a few modifications throughout the duration of your pregnancy. In fact, things like strength training when pregnant can offer a slew of benefits for both mom and baby. Exercising while you’re expecting can set you up for a healthy pregnancy and easier delivery. If you didn’t exercise before becoming pregnant, you’ll want to start slowly with whatever routine you choose.
Luckily, there are lots of great options when it comes to staying fit while pregnant, including strength training. There’s a common misconception that lifting weight during pregnancy can be harmful; however, there are a number of benefits to maintaining muscle when you’re expecting. Focusing on building and maintaining muscle in specific areas of the body can be helpful to support the effects of pregnancy on your body.
- Upper Back – Strengthening your upper and middle back can take some of the stress off your posture as your breasts grow during pregnancy. A strong back can counteract the slump of your shoulders under the weight.
- Lower Body – Your lower body bears much of the weight of your pregnancy. Keeping your legs strong means you’ll be more mobile.
- Upper Body – Balancing your muscle growth is key for any stage of life but focusing on your upper body including arms and shoulders, will better prepare you for all the lifting and holding you’ll be doing in a few short months!
- Core – Strengthening your core protects your lower back during the last few months of your pregnancy as your tummy grows.
Super slow strength training provides the benefits of traditional weight training without putting additional stress on your joints. Studies show that moms who focus on fitness during pregnancy have shorter labors, fewer complications, and less time in the hospital after the baby is born. Research also shows that babies of fit moms fare better, including being resistant to cardiovascular problems later in life, and have brains that mature faster.
Of course, there are guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. If you aren’t currently active, don’t dive in head first while expecting. Start slow and listen to your body. If you are an avid exerciser, work with your trainer, coach, or physician to review modifications that may need to be made during your pregnancy. As an example, a mom-to-be who’s 6 months pregnant shouldn’t be doing burpees with that tummy! There are modifications for every exercise routine, so don’t stop moving once you’re expecting.
Mindy Boyd, the owner of Loyalty fitness, is expecting and has continued strength training with the clearance from her Doctor since the day she found out she was pregnant. Almost half way through her pregnancy and running a business she is still feeling strong, lean (in most parts), and is keeping her energy up for the long days she has. She would love to help other expecting mothers stay fit through their pregnancy and getting that body back after!