Blog - Can You Lift Weights While Pregnant? – Mother Fit

Can You Lift Weights While Pregnant?

Lifting weights while pregnant is completely safe and a wonderful form of exercise to prepare you for labour

Michelle Baynham

26 Jul 2022
So, can you lift weights while pregnant and is it safe? The answer….
YES! Absolutely! If you're not doing it, then start now! Lifting weights during pregnancy is a brilliant form of exercise while carrying a bun in the oven. Lifting weights while pregnant provides so many benefits for pregnant mummas. From strengthening your abdominals and back muscles, to increasing your cardiovascular fitness and stamina for childbirth. A weight lifting plan should be part of every pregnant woman's weekly routine. However, always make sure to check with your doctor before doing so. 

As wonderful as lifting weights during pregnancy can be, it's vitally important to know how to do so safely! Make sure to follow the guidance of a pregnancy exercise professional (LIKE ME😊) to help you exercise with correct technique, especially when lifting heavy weights. Your body goes through numerous changes as you progress through each trimester, and your weight lifting plan needs to adapt to this. Click here to follow the Mother Fit Pregnancy Program which is tailored for every trimester with specific exercise programs and antenatal advice to keep you and your baby safe throughout pregnancy.

Why YOU SHOULD be lifting weights during pregnancy

Once you've been given sign off from your doctor that you’re able to exercise, you'll reap the many rewards lifting weights during pregnancy has to offer, both for your physical and mental health. Some of these benefits include:
  • The gain in stamina helps during childbirth
  • Helps prevent aches and pains
  • Strengthens abs and back muscles which help posture and breathing
  • Improves mood
  • Can help pregnancy mood swings
  • Adds structure and routine to your day, aiding mental health 
  • Lower risk of gestational diabetes
  • Makes you feel AMAZING!

Weight lifting is also supported by research in helping with the fetal growth of your baby's development. It's proven that children born to mothers who do some form of regular resistance training during pregnancy have a higher lean body mass when compared to women who did not do any form of weight lifting exercise. 

How regularly should I lift weights during pregnancy?

I would aim to lift weights around 3 times a week during pregnancy with a focus on overall body movements. However, keep in mind that this always changes as your body grows through every trimester.

Tips for weight training during pregnancy
  1. DO NOT push yourself too hard - work at your own pace, theres no need to over exert and add any unnecessary strain on your body
  2. Take note of your breathing - Try not to hold your breath for long periods, if at all. Focus on breathing from your diaphragm. Holding your breath while lifting weights can lead to increased blood pressure which is a big no no! 
  3. Choose seated movements over standing when possible for the added support and stability - especially when in the later stages of pregnancy 
  4. Always adapt exercises as your baby bump grows 
  5. Take extra caution when lifting weights overhead

What muscles should I train during pregnancy

All muscle groups should be paid attention to as your journey through pregnancy. But more focus should be given to those that add stability and will help prepare you for labour. These areas include:
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Back
  • Hamstrings
  • Deep abdominals
  • Most importantly - Pelvic Floor!

Pregnancy Workout Routine

Follow along with me for this 20-minute prenatal/pregnancy upper body workout. Feel free to perform these exercises in any trimester of your pregnancy journey. Just make sure you've been cleared by your doctor or midwife to exercise.