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Safely Build Muscle and Get Strong While Pregnant
By Jackie Edwards
Pregnancy is a 9-month-long unique period in a woman’s life, during which her body goes through numerous changes. If weight lifting and muscle building has been a part of your workout routine before your pregnancy, and you are wondering whether or not it is safe to continue, you’ve come to the right place.
So, to hit it right off the bat – yes, muscle building and weightlifting can be safe during pregnancy if done with caution and predetermined limits. What is more, ensuring your body has sufficient strength and muscle mass during this period is important for both the mom and the baby.
A time to maintain but not train
Completing easy to medium level muscle building exercises while pregnant on a daily basis can help you stay fit, have more energy throughout the day, and increase your overall well-being. However, one crucial thing to bear in mind is that these delicate nine months are not meant for you to bulk up. In other words, keep weightlifting at its minimum and use smaller weights (10-25 lbs) to build lean muscle.
Keep working out a part of your daily routine, but make sure you avoid sudden twists and movements that can jeopardize the comfort and health of the fetus. Additionally, any type of exercise that would place a lot of strain on the abs should be skipped during this time. This is especially important to remember when you enter the 3rd trimester.
Other poses or exercises to stay away from after entering the 3rd trimester include:
Lying down on your back for a prolonged period of time
Strenuous resistance exercise
Squats and lunges
Muscle building exercises that are safe during pregnancy
Even though it might sound like a cliche, walking can do marvels for your fitness level and muscles during your pregnancy. A 30-minute walk a day – be it outside or on a treadmill – can significantly improve blood flow and help maintain, and even build muscle mass. Furthermore, stationary cycling is another exercise that can contribute to the strengthening of the lower body, while arm exercises with the use of light weights can improve one’s upper body strength.
Other exercises include:
Yoga and Pilates designed for pregnant women
The benefits of building muscle during pregnancy.
Given that the mother’s body is growing another human being, it is only natural to assume that the stronger her system is, the easier it will be to carry the baby to term. Bigger, stronger muscles equal better support for the baby.
Lower body muscles play an especially important role during this time, as it is the pelvic, back, and leg muscles that are under the most pressure. Needless to say, improving lower body strength before and during this period can alleviate back pain associated with pregnancy, as well as help avoid fatigue, and even postpone the onset of swollen ankles.
Essentially, while maintaining and building lean muscle during pregnancy is allowed – what is more, encouraged – it is of paramount importance not step over the line by engaging in strenuous exercises. Another crucial fact to take into consideration is consulting your doctor about your workout plans before you decide to embark on your fitness journey.