Myth #1: Lifting weights is dangerous for you and your baby.
The absolute opposite is true. The outcomes for mothers and babies are better with prenatal exercise. The research shows that fitter mothers have shorter labors, less chance of preterm labor, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stays. Furthermore women who exercise during pregnancy report lower rates of perceived exertion during labor, than women who did not exercise. I’m all for that!!
Myth #2: You’ll make pregnancy pains worse and increase your risk of injury because your body is unstable. Your body is going to be more unstable due to the increase of the hormone relaxin.
Relaxin promotes soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons to become more lax which is necessary during labor. For this reason strength training in pregnancy becomes more important!! Strength training leads to increased stability.
A properly planned strength training program will help decrease aches and pains that are common in pregnancy, such as lower and upper back pain, by keeping your posture in better alignment.
If you are new to strength training you CAN start during pregnancy. Focus on the basics: learn to squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull. I would advise working with a coach who can teach you correct movement patterns and progress you suitably.
Movements like squatting, glute bridges, and hip thrusts can be excellent for encouraging movement through the pelvis, while helping to increase the stability through your lower back.
Myth #3: Core training increases your risk of abdominal wall separation.
Proper abdominal training is extremely important during pregnancy because of your changing posture and additional weight being added to the front of the body.
Abdominal separation is a real thing that many women in pregnancy experience, it’s called Diastasis Recti (DR). Which occurs because of the growing fetus pressing into your abdominal wall. As a result this will cause a stretch in your ‘6 pack’ muscles and the connective tissue holding them together can get very thin and soft.
A stronger core can help reduce the size and severity of your DR and set you up for a speedier recovery postpartum.
There are specific core exercises that you should not do that can increase the DR, for example sit-ups, crunches and front planks.
Save exercises include Side plank, side plank hip raise, Bird-dog, Cat cow pose and kneeling or standing pallof press.
Myth #4: Your heart rate should not rise over 140 bpm during exercise.
The cause for concern with too high a heart rate has to do with the muscles pulling all the oxygen and not enough going to the fetus. This is a legitimate concern. However, the 140 bpm guidelines come from outdated research.
We now know the heart rate can be pushed higher than this without worry. I recommend using your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and the “Talk Test” to guide you. If you’re feeling great, being appropriately challenged, breathing harder but not out of breath, and allowing enough recovery during and between your workouts then your on the right track!
Remember your body and your baby are going to go through stressful periods during labor and delivery. Think of your strength and interval training as test runs for the impending contractions of labor. You work hard for 30-60 seconds, rest, and repeat. This is what prenatal training is all about. Prepare yourself for the main event!
Always consult your doctor before taking part in any exercise program and speak with a certified trainer before doing these exercises to learn correct form if you are unsure.
Move Train Feel Strong x