3 Benefits Of Strength Training During Pregnancy
When you think of pregnancy exercise do you immediately think of light aerobics and pregnancy stretching? These are great activities for pregnant women, but you should also consider adding strength training to your pregnancy routine. There are several benefits to strength training if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
An Easier Pregnancy
On it's own, pregnancy is a type of strength training exercise. Over months, you slowly increase the amount of weight you are carrying, which can strengthen your buttocks, thighs, and calves. However, without targeted weight training exercises throughout pregnancy, you may find that the natural toning of your muscles during pregnancy actually makes your pregnancy more uncomfortable than it has to be.
Because some of your muscles will naturally compensate for your added pregnancy weight, it is important to train your opposing muscles to help maintain your balance and posture. This can help prevent joint pain and pinched nerves for misalignment.
Additionally, late in your pregnancy your body will release hormones that will loosen your joints to prepare for birth. Unfortunately, these hormones are not targeted solely at your pelvis but can negatively affect all of your joints. Keeping the muscles around your joints strong can help compensate for your weakened joints.
An Easier Birth
When many women think about strength training for birth, their first thought is kegel exercises. While these are important for the pushing part of birth, most births involve several hours of labor before you begin pushing. Strength training can give you the strength and muscular endurance to maintain more comfortable and productive postures during your labor. For example, leg strengthening will help you squat, which can promote a faster birth, and arm strengthening will help you maintain a "table" position, which can alleviate the pain of contractions for some women.
Less Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Weight gain during pregnancy is healthy for you and your baby. However, excessive weight gain can make you more uncomfortable and put your baby at risk of preterm labor or various complications. Many women think they have to engage in aerobic activity to keep their pregnancy weight under control. However, for some women, light aerobic activity is not possible every day or effective at controlling weight gain. Adding in two or three days of strength training each week can help keep your weight at a reasonable amount. An added benefit is that strength training usually requires much less time than aerobic exercise to effectively manage your weight.