Resistance Training in Pregnancy

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As you probably already know, a moderate amount of exercise during pregnancy is a good thing. It helps keep you in shape, helps get your body ready for labor, helps reduce some of the aches and pains of pregnancy, and will help you be ready to lose the baby weight. Normally when you think about pregnancy exercise, however, you probably think about cardiovascular exercise. While cardio is definitely beneficial, there is a new study that suggests resistance training might be helpful during pregnancy, too.

The study, done at Michigan State University, looked at a total of 214 women who’ve had a baby in the last five years. Of those, 57 did resistance training on an average of about 3 days per week for 30 minutes at a time. During their workouts, they used the “F.I.T.T.” principle, which considers frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise.

In particular, F.I.T.T. keys off these requirements:

  • A frequency of three days per week
  • High intensity workouts with low poundage and more repetitions
  • Workout times of around 20 to 30 minutes
  • A variety of permitted types of exercise, including free weights, machines, kettle bells, and resistance bands

Some of the women (56 percent) used free weights and others (37 percent) used machines. Women who did resistance training had similar results as women who did cardio in terms of things like weight gain, infant birth weight and length, as well as gestational age.

Other studies regarding exercise during pregnancy have noted the important benefits that aerobic exercise can bring. While studies haven’t yet been done in this area, it’s likely that a combination of both aerobic and resistance training during pregnancy would provide a number of health benefits to both mother and baby.

On top of all of that, exercise of any type helps prepare your body for delivery, and it will give you a head start on losing the baby weight.

So, what about you? Did you exercise regularly during pregnancy? If so, did you stick with cardio, or did you delve into resistance training or other types of exercise?

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