Many women are told not to lift over 15 pounds in pregnancy, but then are also told to continue doing what they’ve always done. What if you normally lift more than 15 pounds in a workout? What if you have a toddler at home that needs to be picked up? What if you don’t really enjoy just walking or doing yoga, or some other “light” form of exercise? (By the way, I’m not saying yoga is easy-I really love it and find it quite challenging!)
Before my first pregnancy, I was very active doing CrossFit, weightlifting, and coaching for hours every day, so when I read and heard things that said I shouldn’t be lifting more than 15 pounds during pregnancy, I was really confused as to whether or not I should continue doing those things. My doctor told me to continue doing what I had been doing and I would be fine, so I followed her guidance and continued on.
But I also found it frustrating that so many women were being told these things that seemed to be on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Those frustrations later led me to where I am today where I am able to better educate and empower women with how to confidently navigate exercise during pregnancy (and postpartum).
How realistic is that “guidance” to not lift over 15 pounds?
To start out, motherhood requires strength to carry out daily activities and if you’re only lifting less than 15 pounds, it may be hard to do some things that you need to do. If you have another small child (likely weighing more than 15 pounds) while pregnant, you won’t call on someone else to pick up your toddler if they need to be held. You need to have the strength to be able to do that. (And that’s not accounting for the times your toddler may be throwing a fit and thrashing around while being carried out of a store-kids feel SO much heavier then!)
The other main point with this is that most women are required to lift more than that within days after delivering their baby. Depending on what kind of postpartum help is available, it’s likely that many women don’t have another option but to do this by themselves. Between carrying the baby, the car seat, diaper bag, etc. you are carrying anywhere from 20-35 pounds, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible to be able to do that.
Lifting weights can actually help reduce aches and pains during pregnancy.
Some aches and pains are definitely a common occurrence during pregnancy, but studies show that lifting weights can actually decrease the risk of low back and pelvic pain! Pretty cool, right?!
Another great thing about strength training is that it can easily be adapted to your evolving pregnant body and needs. Adjusting how you are performing an exercise can help you continue to build strength while keeping you and baby safe.
Full body strengthening will help your muscles stay strong while your body undergoes many changes in pregnancy, and strong glutes can be very beneficial to your core and pelvic floor function as well!
Like I mentioned earlier, there is a wide spectrum when it comes to “guidance” around weight lifting in pregnancy. Although lifting weights (and relatively moderate weights) is highly beneficial during pregnancy, going for a new max on a lift may not be the most appropriate way to be weight lifting during this time. How you are training should support your pregnancy body needs, but it doesn’t just have to be walking or yoga.
Want more info on how you can navigate symptoms, exercise, and your journey? Fill out this form to schedule a FREE call with me to discuss how you can get better guidance with exercise and managing symptoms in pregnancy!