The last thing you should do is to stop exercising when you're pregnant. But a Facebook image of a pregnant woman lifting 75 pounds of weights sent the social media world into a frenzy! Lea-Ann Ellison's picture generated more than 2,000 comments; some complimenting her exceptional strength while others criticized her for potentially endangering her baby.
So what are the limits to exercising while pregnant?
Raul Artal, M.D., professor at the St. Louis University School of
Medicine and lead author of the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists’ (ACOG) guidelines for exercise and pregnancy, says the problem isn't that Ellison is still lifting weights, but it's that the weights she's pictured using are too heavy. “When you lift heavy weights, blood flow is temporarily diverted from your internal organs to your muscles,” he says. “This could prevent nutrients and oxygen from getting to the baby.”
Artal says that the ACOG guidelines don’t address strength training because it’s not a popular topic, and he notes that most women don't ask their doctors about it. But it is generally safe to lift up to 30 pounds of weight if you're pregnant. Limiting yourself to this amount would mean less blood will be diverted to your muscles. But of course, since everyone goes through pregnancy and exercise differently, you should still check with your doctor before doing any exercise.
If your doctor says it's okay, the benefits of working out while pregnant can be really good for you and the baby. Exercising while pregnant can help keep your baby at a healthy weight, according to new research. Exercise such as yoga can lower a pregnant woman's blood pressure. However, if your body feels off or if you're experiencing unusual pain, stop exercising and visit your physician before you continue your exercise routine.
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