Resistance training is great to include in your pregnancy workouts, read our tips for including in your safe pregnancy exercise plan here!
If you’re used to regular resistance training there’s no reason not to continue exercising while pregnant. Working out with a machine or controlled weight lifting can be a safe, suitable and effective exercise for pregnant women, although you might need to adapt your usual exercise routine as your pregnancy progresses.
Weight training will strengthen and tone your muscles and help build stamina – it will help you adapt to the changes in your body as your baby develops, prepare you for birth and is good preparation for your postnatal recovery period as well.
Whilst free weights are generally considered a more effective way to train muscles they require correct posture and good core stability, which can be tricky as your bump gets bigger and your centre of gravity shifts. Resistance machines minimise the risk of incorrect technique and are more likely to provide support for your back, which is a bonus when you’re exercising during pregnancy.
FittaMamma Tips for weight training when pregnant
- Don’t skimp on warming up and cooling down – it’s even more important to prepare your body for exercise when you’re pregnant. A few minutes warming up will increase your heart rate, get your blood circulating to your muscles, ligaments and tendons, raise your temperature and reduce the risk of injury
- Use lighter weights- it’s better to increase the repetitions and decrease the weight. The actual weight you can comfortably lift is very much dependent on your pre-pregnancy levels
- Your centre of gravity changes as you baby develops, making it inadvisable to lift weights standing up – sit down to lift weights during pregnancy
- The hormone relaxin loosens up the connective tissues during pregnancy so quick, uncontrolled movements are inadvisable. Try introducing resistance bands as part of your pregnancy workout – you’ll find they work different muscle groups effectively and will ensure that you make slower, more controlled movements
- You should avoid any exercise that involves lying on your back after the first trimester – so skip any exercises that involve lying flat on a bench
- It goes without saying (almost, so we’ll say it anyway!) that you should avoid any position that would leave your abdomen vulnerable to a falling weight
- Even if you’ve been lifting weights for a while you should check with a qualified fitness trainer to make any adjustments to your technique to accommodate your growing bump
- Keep a bottle of water handy and make sure you stay hydrated
- Wearing supportive maternity workout clothes will make you feel more secure when you exercise – if they include moisture-wicking content (such as CoolDry) it will help regulate your body temperature as well
- As ever when exercising during pregnancy, listen to your body! This is not the time to push yourself too hard – be prepared to slow down and decrease the frequency and/or intensity of your pregnancy workouts