Yes, Strength Training is Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
It seems to be on a lot of expectant mother’s minds. Just typing in the word “exercise” to Google often brings up some variation of the question “what is safe exercise during pregnancy?” I can understand the concern–we have a bad habit of treating pregnant women like invalids, and it causes a lot of anxiety around what is safe to do and what isn’t. Pregnancy isn’t an illness or an injury, however, and we shouldn’t treat it that way. The reality is that pregnant women are actually capable of doing more safely than we might think, with just a bit of modification. Just ask this Vertex Fitness client, who describes how we helped her stay fit and healthy during her pregnancy.
The Risks and Benefits
According to a resource on WebMD on pregnancy exercise habits, there are a few situations in which safe exercise during pregnancy may not be possible. If you experience any of the following conditions or symptoms, you may not be a good candidate for continuing an exercise regimen while pregnant:
- Bleeding or spotting
- Low placenta
- Threatened or recurrent miscarriage
- Previous premature births or history of early labor
- Weak cervix
For the majority of women, however, exercise during pregnancy is actually a good idea. Exercise may be a good way to help diminish common pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, such as backache, fatigue, and stress. It’s also not a terrible idea to build up some strength and stamina to help the process of labor and delivery go more smoothly.
What Kinds of Exercise are Best?
Low-impact exercises are considered the best and safest exercise for pregnant women, but “low-impact” does not necessarily mean “low effort”. High-impact refers to making lots of jolting impact with the ground, as in basketball or running. It does not imply that your pregnancy exercise needs to be limited to walking to your mailbox or treading water in a pool. You can get a great workout that will actually build strength and stamina without a lot of jarring, sudden impacts to your joints and muscles.
Tennis, for example, may not be a great fit for an active pregnancy. One of the biggest changes that happens to a pregnant body that will affect exercise is that your center of gravity will change. This means that even active, coordinated women may be susceptible to trips or falls, as their internal wiring isn’t used to the new configuration. Any sport or activity that requires lots of sudden changes in direction may increase the risk of falling.
Strength Training During Pregnancy
Strength training is actually an excellent fit for expectant mothers, and is considered to be a safe exercise during pregnancy when done with a qualified trainer in a responsible way.
Strength training is low-impact, meaning that your risk of tripping and falling or otherwise hurting yourself is relatively low. A trainer will help ensure that you are performing exercise at a reasonable level of resistance and repetition so as to get the benefit of working out without the risk of overdoing it or causing injury. Strength training involves making lots of movements slowly and under control, which is a good way to avoid the risk of injury.
If you’ve been an active person with a fitness routine prior to your pregnancy, there isn’t any good reason that you need to stop completely. You may just need to make some slight modifications to your routine to ensure that you are safely getting the exercise that you need to have an active, fit pregnancy. At Vertex Fitness, we prioritize the safety of our clients over everything else. That’s why this client chose us to help her navigate her fitness routine throughout two high risk pregnancies, and she still works out with us to this day.