Benefits of Prenatal Strength Training

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What are the benefits of prenatal strength training?

Benefits of Prenatal Strength Training

Being a mom is an athletic feat. It's a dynamic, activity, requiring constant changes in energy, direction and intensity. While new moms prepare for the challenge of lifting a child whose weight increases weekly, expectant moms adapt to changes in their center of gravity and postural alignment. Pregnancy hormones may cause too much mobility, making balance and stability a challenge. A fitness plan that integrates strength training with postural alignment and stability will prepare you for the first “Main Event,” childbirth, and the subsequent events involved in “bringing up baby.”

An article in "The Physician and Sports Medicine" journal describes the benefits of strength training for women.

  • Enhanced bone modeling to increase bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Stronger connective tissues to increase joint stability and help prevent injury
  • Increased functional strength for sports and daily activity
  • Increased lean body mass and decreased nonfunctional body fat
  • Higher metabolic rate because of an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence

For expectant moms:
  • Reducing the risk of osteoporosis means that you will be active with your child reaches adolescence. Increasing joint stability is an important component of prenatal fitness programs. The hormone relaxin increases with pregnancy. While its purpose is to relax the pelvis for labor, its systemic effect might cause instability. Strengthening the muscles around the joint prevents injuries, and enhances stability.
  • Functional strength training that uses different muscle groups simultaneously prepares you for the multi tasking involved in motherhood.
  • A toned muscle has an elevated metabolic rate. While weight loss during pregnancy is not an issue, strength training may prevent excessive weight gain.

James F Clapp MD. Discusses prenatal strength-training benefits in his book, Exercising through Your Pregnancy:

"Regular, sustained, weight bearing exercise is the best type of exercise for pregnant women because it clearly complements the adaptations to pregnancy. However, the proper frequency, duration and intensity will vary from woman to woman.

Many factors influence your frequency, duration and intensity. Participation in a strength- training routine prior to pregnancy may enable you to maintain that program, with some modifications, for most of your pregnancy. Inactive women should seek their doctor's advice.

   

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