What we know about strength training during pregnancy is all positive. Lifting to tolerance can help reduce labor times, improve outcomes following childbirth, and improve overall mood throughout pregnancy. There are some things to consider when lifting that may change your current routine.
In later pregnancy (3rd trimester) lying on your back for movements like bench press, bridges, and abdominal work may be uncomfortable and if done for prolonged periods can be dangerous. Lying on your back can cause the baby to compress the blood flow back to your heart. This can cause you to feel lightheaded or even pass out. It’s best to modify these movements by elevating your upper body higher than your lower body.
Do incline press or elevate your head instead of bench press.
Do swiss ball bridges instead of regular bridges.
Do standing or quadruped (all fours) abdominal exercises instead of lying on your back.
Another consideration regarding weight training is pressure mis-management causing abdominal doming/coning. This means that your core is unable to tolerate the load that you are putting on it. However, there is no evidence to suggest that avoiding exercises that cause coning leads to any difference in outcomes. You can help reduce this coning by incorporating breathing techniques and working on lower abdominal strength to reduce this occurrence when lifting.
Completing diaphragmatic/360 breathing where you try to let your belly rise and expand like a barrel when you inhale.
Work on combining this breathing technique with posterior pelvic tilts by relaxing during the inhale and contracting into your pelvic tilt on the exhale.
If you enjoy barbell lifting as your belly grows bigger you may have to make alterations to lifts like cleans and snatches to prevent contact with your belly. This can easily be done by elevating your barbell to reduce your barbell path.
Completing hang cleans instead of full cleans.
Doing dumbbell single arm snatches instead of barbell.
Try these exercise modifications, but if you find that modifying or progressing your strength training is challenging to do on your own, then reach us at College Station Physical Therapy to help you train safely throughout pregnancy!!