Active Pregnancy
Exercising With Weights During Pregnancy

Low to moderate intensity weight training, also known as resistance and strength training, isn’t such a bad idea considering that you’re lugging around a fair amount of pregnancy weight. It’s one of the best ways to minimize the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. After giving birth, the lifting is just going to go on with a baby in one arm and a variety of things on the other, from diaper bags to strollers and other baby paraphernalia. So while you still have both hands free, you can get a head start training your body for what is literally, a long haul!

When using free weights, use three- or five-pound weights if you’re a beginner, and never more than 12-pound weights. You can even use your own body weight.

With these exercises with free weights, always stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, making sure your knees are not locked. You can also use an exercise ball or a chair to support you, help stabilize you and generally be more comfortable as your pregnancy progresses. Make sure you keep proper posture: spine straight, shoulders back, tummy in and chest up. Be sure to check with your doctor and a gym instructor before doing any exercise routines, especially if you have conditions like scoliosis.



Grasping the weight in both hands behind your head, raise weight slowly upward. Slowly bring down weight to the back of your head and repeat.



Standing or sitting with both arms at the sides, raise both arms straight upward and to the side until parallel to the floor. Bring arms slowly down and repeat.



Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes turned slightly inward. Stiffen abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, keep chin up and hold chest up. Hold weights to your sides and move hips downward, lowering yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Keep heels flat on the floor and return slowly to starting position.



Start by standing straight and tall, grasping weights to your sides, then step forward with your right foot while keeping your head and spine erect. Lower your left knee to the floor by bending both knees. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Try doing 1 to 2 sets of eight to ten repetitions. Take breaks if needed and don’t overdo it. You’re going to feel a burn in your muscles, but stop if you feel any pain, strain or discomfort and if you start holding your breath. Choose a weight that allows you to comfortably perform the repetitions properly and after the first trimester, avoid exercises done while lying on your back. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!

Philippine Association for Childbirth Education

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