Should You Work to Build Muscle During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life and she’ll often want to improve her health, but is it the right time to build muscle during pregnancy? The answer can be very individual and depends on where you were before you conceived.

You can definitely succeed at building muscle during pregnancy, but whether that’s a good idea depends on you and your doctor’s advice. For women who are very active before pregnancy, it’s often possible to continue a lot of the same fitness activities.

But if you don’t start out your pregnancy in good shape, this isn’t usually the time to begin a heavy duty fitness program. You’ll always want to consult with your doctor before you begin an exercise program during pregnancy.

If your doctor gives you the okay to begin strength training, you’ll want to start slow. For example, you’ll want to use light weights and start with one set of 10-12 reps. You can perform this exercise two or three times per week.

When you’re working out to build muscle outside of pregnancy, you might push yourself harder. But during pregnancy, it’s not a good idea to push yourself too far. Instead, focus on toning up and gaining strength to help with a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

As your pregnancy develops, you may find that certain strength training exercises are impossible because of your comfort level or an expanding belly. When this happens, try modifying exercises or switching to an alternative form.

At any time during your pregnancy you should avoid exercises where you lie on your back. Instead try to work those muscles through standing exercises or just forget about them until after your baby arrives.

Strength training to build muscle during pregnancy can be beneficial. It burns fat and helps you to keep from gaining too much excess weight. It also helps you to firm up your frame and prevents problems with aches and pains as your pregnancy progresses.

Working on strength and endurance can also make the delivery and recovery process go more smoothly. And when the baby comes you’ll have a stronger body to handle all of its new responsibilities. You’ll find that it’s easier to lose weight and get back into pre-baby shape as well.

But is this the time to go from couch potato to bodybuilder? No. If your doctor recommends strength training, it’s okay to work to build muscle during your pregnancy but you should make sure not to overdo your exercise program.

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