Physical exercise and pregnant women shouldn’t mix – or so we have heard countless of times. But this isn’t true unless your doctor strongly advised against it, such as when complete bed rest for a delicate pregnancy is recommended. Here are a few myths that should have gone out but haven’t.
Lifting Weights Is Dangerous
Studies have shown that pregnant women who lift light weights, such as dumbbells, are more likely to enjoy shorter labors, fewer complications, and lesser chances of preterm labor. This means shorter hospital stays for both mother and child, too.
Pregnant women who regularly exercised also have higher cardiovascular endurance, a trait passed on to their unborn babies who have healthier blood process. Their perceived exertion during labor tends to be lesser, too, so they have more energy to enjoy their newborns.
Studies have also shown that babies born to mothers who exercised also have higher APGAR scores. They have even been shown to handle the stress of labor better.
But before you head to the weight training section of the Bally Total Fitness gym, you should first ask your doctor about your safe options. You don’t want to lift weights that can endanger you or your baby’s health. You can probably get away with using dumbbells but not the Smith machine.
Training Abs Is Dangerous, Too
The concern about training abs while pregnant is understandable considering the stomach’s growing girth. But if you want reduced back pain, then proper abs training is a must, not to mention that it can reduce the risk of diastasis recti.
Core training is crucial in keeping your upper and lower back, especially your pelvis, in their proper posture. As your baby grows, you will be carrying added weight on your body’s front side resulting in hyperextension in your lower back. Fortunately, your strong core muscles can take the additional weight so you’re less likely to experience back pain.
And then there’s diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal walls. While it may sound like a scenario out of a horror movie, it happens to many women. Basically, the rectus abdominals stretch as your growing baby presses into your abdominal wall resulting in the connective tissues becoming very thin.
But ask your doctor and personal trainer first as there are specific core exercises that cannot be done since these increase the risk of diastasis recti. These exercises include front planks, sit-ups and crunches.
The bottom line: Exercise even when you’re pregnant when you can! You just have to ensure that you and your baby are safe while you’re doing so.