Weight training during pregnancy

Boy was I glad I stuck with my weight training during pregnancy.  My second pregnancy with my beautiful son was a total breeze, gained a healthy required amount of weight and I totally credit it to lifting through my whole pregnancy and eating healthy.

I know what you’re thinking if you have found your way to our site ‘ This chick is naturally slim and probably never puts on weight’  Wrong!  Yes I was naturally slim when I was younger and in my hay day a keen athletic participant as well as other sports.

A Mr & Mrs Life Weight training during pregnancy

However during my first pregnancy and the years leading up to my first child being born my diet mainly consisted of fried foods and chocolate. For a few years, my exercise habits had been attending gym randomly and wandering aimlessly around the gym mainly from cardio machine to cardio machine the jumping on a few weight training machines which I had no idea what it was actually doing for me.

 

So back to my first pregnancy,  I had  a relatively  good pregnancy well  good as to be expected. The normal things ladies complain about, back pain swelling etc.  The labour however was not so good but that’s a whole different story. My recovery after my first child was painful to say the least. After the pain had subsided months later it was only then I had noticed I gained unwanted pounds and didn’t look like myself -I had become so unfit over the years.

 

It was then my true fit life started and I began lifting weights and became a personal trainer. I had found a passion for lifting weights and discovered the fantastic benefits it brings in keeping you in shape and lean.

This year we found out we were pregnant with our second child. This time armed with knowledge and a qualification in pre and post natal fitness I was  determined to stay fit and healthy during this pregnancy and I was sure as hell going to keep lifting which is what I love.
A Mr & Mrs Life Weight training during pregnancy
There are a lot of misconceptions about women and weight training during pregnancy. I truly believe that lifting during pregnancy helps with many common ailments and postural and muscles imbalances that a pregnant women can suffer from. Well, I had none of that this time  round, I stayed consistent with my lifting and eating well and I felt like I had tons of energy throughout the whole pregnancy.  Not only did I not experience any back pain, swelling or put on any unwanted weight I managed to keep a hold of some of that nice muscle I earned.
Being consistent with my weight training during pregnancy also kept me strong I personally worked out 3 times a week and lifted pretty much the usual amount of weight I normally do all the way through until the last month. Why did I need to keep strong you ask, for that marathon of a task that is called labour.  This time around, I knew what I was in for knew about all the pain I was to endure and anticipated being ill for weeks after.

 

None of this happened, keeping strong with lifting during pregnancy made my labour go much faster this time. sure contractions still hurt like a b**ch but the pushing was so quick and calm and relaxed such a stark contrast to my first labour where I pushed for hours.  I delivered my beautiful child standing up in a semi-squat position yes that’s right a squat 😉

Get this, I was out of the hospital in a few hours and up and about like nothing had happened. I was back to exercising lighting within 11 days of giving birth and my bounce back of my body seems to be quite good so far to.

 

I cannot not recommend  weight lifting during pregnancy enough, not only will you look better but your recovery will be faster and it has obvious health benefits to you and your baby.

The general rule to exercising during pregnancy is if you did the activity before pregnancy it’s generally ok to carry on the same after you become pregnant modifying as the pregnancy continues if the  doctor has given you the ok to exercise. This can be applied to weight lifting during pregnancy by using common sense and the correct modifications to intensity and equipment used. see here for more  tips and advice to exercising during pregnancy

 

If you want to add weight training to your prenatal fitness and its new to you here are some tips to weight training during pregnancy if you think you need some extra help with a personalised program, inlist the help of a certified prenatal trainer in the gym.
  • Exercise 3-5 per week with resistance and cardio
  • Train each muscle group 2-3 time a week with sufficient rest days in between each workout to allow for recovery
  • 1-3 sets of each exercise allow enough rest between each set to recovery keep the range high at 12-15
  • Think about training all the major muscle groups. Legs chest back shoulders etc maybe pick about 8-10 exercises. You can do this as full body session or split into lower body upper body etc
  • ALWAYS use correct form and lift weight in a slow controlled manner
  • NEVER Hold your breath when performing any exercise
  • Exercise in a well ventilated room and drink lots of water

    Should you include weight training in your prenatal regime erm yes yes !!!!!

    * Please get your doctor’s approval before starting any exercise during pregnancy.

How soon after having my baby can I exercise?

How soon after having my baby can I exercise well…….. the general advise is 6-8 weeks after your postnatal check up with your doctor but as the saying goes everyone is different. If you haven’t had a C-section or you had uncomplicated delivery its OK to return to light exercise if your feeling well.  The rule is if you exercised through your pregnancy you can start at the intensity you finished with at the end of your pregnancy if you didn’t exercise during pregnancy you need to keep it light and work your way up gradually.

Safe exercises you can start as soon as 24hrs after delivery are pelvic floor exercises and appropriate abdominal exercises focusing on transverse abdominal exercises first and suitable rectus abdominal exercises once the deep transverse has been worked on.

Core exercises you CAN DO

Transverse exercises e.g
ABDOMINAL HOLLOWING ( hollowing can be preformed standing, seated or lying. Focus on bringing your naval towards your spine.)
LEG SLIDES (Focus on bringing your naval towards your spine no doming of the stomach should occur)
KNEE RAISES ( Lying on your back and as above)

Rectus abdominal exercises e.g
PELVIC TILTS ( Lying on your back)
BRIDGE

Core exercises to AVOID  before  6-8 weeks

NO CRUNCHES (You don’t want to create any dooming this will further increase diastasis recti)
NO EXERCISES IN 4 POINT KNEELING POSITION( There is a small risk of air entering the raw placental site and causing illness)
NO PLANKS (As above, also as the core muscles are not yet that strong the increased weight from your organs can cause additional stress on you abdominals that are trying to repair it self)

Cardio

Light cardiovascular work such as walking can be undergone if your feeling well.  A good range to keep your heart rate is 50/70% MHR or light to somewhat heart and working up a sweat if you don’t have a heart rate monitor. Try and stay away from high intensity exercises that vigorous in the early weeks as the pelvic floor will still be very weak  also the effects of the hormone relaxin are still in your system so its much more easier to get an injury and pull something.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking it will get you at the house and you and baby can get some fresh air. If you like to use machines or do other activities to do your cardio, stick to machines/activities that are low impact. However if you do use machines such as the cross trainer for example be aware that this machine requires activation of the core muscles and  if you don’t have good control of it yet you can have some issues with over rotation movements with your core. With the cross trainer good form must be used as not to cause and joint injuries.

Resistance Training

Resistance training can be undergone once core muscles have been regained, as I said before everyone is different and depending on your core strength during pregnancy you may gain control quicker. Even though you may be eager to return to exercise please remember to exercise with caution and to select the exercises carefully. When resistance training you will almost certainly be using your core to help you during some part of the exercise that’s why its very important to make sure these are strong before starting formal exercise. You could be doing more damage than good if you don’t know what your doing and your not activating your core during each exercise.
Again the hormone relaxin will still be lingering in your body especially if your breast feeding so its much easier to gain injury as the ligaments and joints are loose. Therefore working in the higher rep range is beneficial to start with so your not working your muscles to complete failure.

Above all listen to your body, there is no race and you don’t have to be in competition with anyone. Every woman you come across will have different levels of fitness and will return to exercise at their own pace. If anything is hurting or doesn’t feel right stop, if you notice an increase in bleeding that’s a good sign to slow things down. If your eager to return to exercise why not visit the doctors earlier and see if they will give you a quick check up to go ahead.

Have a blessed day Fit mama’s
xx