Can You Lift Weights While Pregnant?

Ah, the joys of pregnancy. During this blissful, albeit tremendously life-changing time, your body adapts to the ever-growing changes of a tiny human budding inside. Everybody's experience when they're expecting is different, but there are usually rules of thumb about what generally to do and not to do during pregnancy. Besides, now that you're thinking, eating, and moving for two, it's important to know how you can best stay safe during the more or less nine months while you await the birth of your child and/or children. 

But for those who like to stay active, whether it be full-on beast mode in the gym or a more low-intensity pilates workout, don't believe the myths that exercising or working out should either be decreased or forgotten altogether during pregnancy. No, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you shouldn't push yourself to the fullest extent, but exercise is in-fact encouraged for those who are pregnant.

And for those who like to lift, whether it's lifting light dumbbells in front of the TV during a YouTube workout or squatting with a bar, here's what you should know about weightlifting during pregnancy.

The benefits of weightlifting while pregnant

There's no doubt that pregnancy changes week by week, so taking into account what you should and shouldn't do during your pregnancy based on research is essential when carrying a mini-you. Experts and medical publications have come to a consensus that weightlifting has benefits during pregnancy, so start thinking about how to integrate some strength training exercises in addition to cardio.

Besides the obvious side effect of a nice dopamine rush from moving your body, Women's Health consulted with professionals about the advantages of strength training during pregnancy. The magazine states that some of the benefits include aiding pregnancy aches and pains, support during labor due to muscle and stamina build-up, and caring for a newborn post-pregnancy.

Keep in mind that strength training doesn't necessarily require weights, since you can choose to do bodyweight exercises or even resistance bands. For those who want a bit of an extra push, picking up a dumbbell and doing exercises like deadlifts, squats, and rows are encouraged.

Precautions to take while lifting weights while pregnant

Despite the potential rewards that can derive from strength training with weights during pregnancy, it's best to consider possible harmful effects certain exercises can cause.

It's hard to determine what exercises and weights that you should avoid while expecting, since it varies from person to person (via Women's Health). However, Verywell Family does have some pointers and advises against specific movements during exercise. It's best to avoid belly or back exercises, as such movement can cause strain and can even impact the flow of blood oxygen to your growing offspring. Another safety measure to think about is not engaging in intense physical activity like continuously lifting heavy weights where you hold your breath, which can ultimately disrupt the flow of oxygen.

Instead, opt for a more moderate workout, which again, can vary from person to person (via CNN). Most doctors recommend 30 minutes of moderate activity, leaving you to decide what is worth breaking a bit of a sweat compared to going super hard. Don't worry, we trust you! You got this.