When I was a personal trainer I had always hypothesized that strength training would lead to positive outcomes for pregnant women and the child, particularly if they had been training prior to the conception of their child.
Since I’m not a research center and such training could be high risk, I just wouldn’t train a pregnant woman. The wisdom in the early 2000s was, “don’t engage in strength training if you’re pregnant.” Among trainers the wisdom was, “that doesn’t make any sense, but don’t do it to avoid a lawsuit.” Recently (2015) the American College of Obstetrians and Gynecologists said that it was safe to initiate/continue strength training during uncomplicated pregnancies.*
Anyway, strength training is getting closer and closer to being a scientifically verified panacea. In the case of pregnancy, strength training:
- Does not increase the risk of pre-term birth.
- May improve fetal heart function (circuit style training)
- Improves maternal energy levels
- Decreases risk of preeclampsia.
- Lowers risk of unhealthy weight gain (this one should have been obvious)
- Lowers risk of gestational diabetes
- Decreases incontinence by strengthening pelvic floor musculature
- Potentially decreases risk factors to the child caused by the mother being overweight
- Makes the mother feel healthier
- Decreases risk for post birth depression (exercise in general)
- Decreased back pain
Now, I’m no doctor and I’m not making any recommendations. But hopefully this information helps you do some of your own research.
*American College of Obstetrians and Gynecologists. Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Committee Opinion Number 650 2015.