by Pregnancy.org staff
Pumping weights, even during pregnancy, does your body good. You'll appreciate those benefits long after your baby's moved from your womb to the outside world. The muscles you're building now will help you during birthing and long after pregnancy.
Exercise elevates your mood. Exercise during your pregnancy leaves you feeling more energetic, helps you sleep better, alleviates common discomforts and boosts your mood. A few endorphins gained during exercise might just head off that an argument or depression.
Resistance training prepares you for the big day. Come show time, you'll need to have the upper and lower body strength to push baby out and bear down. According to Pregnancy.org's fitness expert Alexandra Allred, "Many women who didn't work out during pregnancy report feeling very sore after the baby is born. Surprise! Guess what? When you're straining against your muscles for hours, you will be sore if you're not in shape. Those who trained while pregnant reported a much easier (and faster) delivery."
Hefting that babe! When you're carrying an eight-pound baby in one arm and a nine-pound bag in the other, you'll be thankful for those arm muscles! Not convinced? Try marching in place with a can of veggies in each hand. How many minutes tick by before your arms start to ache? Guess what? Your newborn will be heavier.
Drop those "baby pounds." What is the deal with muscles? They burn fat. Ever notice how guys can lose weight easier than women? Men have 30-40% more muscle mass and simply burn more fat by being "men." Doesn't seem fair does it. Using weights and keeping your muscles fit and firm means you burn more fat. Once your baby's born, those muscles you built during pregnancy will help you back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Here's What You'll Need and How to Do It
1. Prepare: Get out your exercise ball and a set of hand weights. If you're just starting resistance training, use three to five-pound ones. Snag your headband and your water bottle.
2. Line up right: Sit securely on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your upper legs parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows in against your sides. Your head should be upright and your back straight. Take a cleansing breath...in...and out. Breathe in again.
3. Bring those weights up: As you breathe out, slowly raise both weights toward your chin. Your palms will be facing inward. Pause.
4. Gently lower them: Breathe in while slowly lowering weights to their starting position.
5. That's one! We recommend building up to two or three sets of eight repetitions.
Big Tip: When bicep curls get too easy with the three-pound weights, upgrade to five-pounders. Your arms will be ready to pack around a newborn in no time!
Before starting a fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don't know what kind of shape you're in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!
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