Weight training during pregnancy

Is it safe to lift weights when I’m pregnant?

If you have been doing weight training before you got pregnant, you can continue doing it. Just keep your doctor informed about it. If you haven’t done weight training before, pregnancy isn’t the best time to start.

Weight training during pregnancy is a good way to tone your muscles. It also improves your posture and prepares you for labour. However, you might need to lift lighter weights than you did before you were pregnant. This is especially true if you have high blood pressure. Do consult your doctor before starting.

Your aim should be to maintain your muscle tone, and not to build new muscle. It’s recommended you use weights lighter than 2.5 kg. Doing more repetitions of lighter weights works better than less repetitions of heavier weights.

To keep yourself fit, there are some exercises you’ll need to do. This includes training with dumb-bells, exercise bands, etc. Try to change the exercises you do everyday. This will not only save you from getting bored, but also tone different muscles of your body. Thus in one session, focus on arms and shoulders, then on bottom muscles, hips and legs in another. You can also include some cardiovascular exercise in between.

Do I need to make any changes in the training while I’m pregnant?

Yes, you do. It’s best to train under supervision of an instructor. He or she can also give you good advice according to the developments in your body. It’s a good idea to join a gym or look for a trainer who provides training at home, if that’s what you want.

You’ll have to avoid some positions. These include the ones that require you to lift heavy weights or push with force while holding your breath. They might increase your BP, hence are not recommended.

To prepare you for every session, do pelvic floor exercises. These are important exercises during pregnancy, and help you from leaking urine, which can be common during pregnancy.

What are some tips that will help me weight train better?

As a rule, listen to your body and stop when you feel tired. Here are some tips you can follow during various stages of your pregnancy.

First Trimester

Use slow and controlled movements to lift weights. This will help protect your joints, which are loosened by the pregnancy hormone called relaxin. Tighten your pelvic floor as you lift weights. Remember to breathe throughout.

Second Trimester

In the 2nd trimester, it’s recommended you lift weights while being seated. Standing for a long time can make the blood pool in legs. After 16 weeks, lying on your back can press a major vein in your body (vena cava). Both these might make you feel dizzy and develop varicose veins. If you feel you are developing varicose veins, reduce the weights. Also wear stockings under your lowers. Make it a point to move around and change your position while lifting. This will prevent you from having pains. As your pregnancy progresses, you might need to lower the repetitions and use lighter weights.

Third Trimester

You’ll find it difficult to lift weights now. Your bump might get in the way of lifting. You may need to use free weights. There’s a risk of dropping a weight on your bump, so you need to be extra careful. Resistance bands can be a safer and easier option if you’d like to continue training. Remember not to lift weights from the floor or over your head.

In case you feel uncomfortable or unusually weak, stop immediately and consult your doctor. Read to know about when to when to seek medical help during exercising.