A Californian mother has caused controversy by posting pregnant pictures of herself on Facebook. What’s controversial about that? Well, she was weight-lifting at the time. While 8 months pregnant. The CrossFit enthusiast has continued weight training throughout this pregnancy – her third – and the photos went viral, causing a rash of hysteria across the internet, with many branding her irresponsible and selfish.
It’s true that lifting heavy weights can cause a host of problems in pregnancy, from placental separation to miscarriage. But, these problems tend to occur when someone is lifting inproperly, or is unused to weight-lifting. According to experts, if your body is used to the strain of lifting heavy weights, it should cope fine with a reduced weight-lifting regime throughout the gestation. Most mothers with more than one child will tell you that they were ultra-careful about how much they lifted during their first pregnancy, but in subsequent pregnancies, they tended to haul a 15kg toddler around all the time. Again, because these mothers are used to lifting their older child, and have gradually built up their muscles as their child grows, it’s not particularly dangerous. If a first-time pregnant mother suddenly decided to carry 15kg worth of child around with her, it could cause problems.
So, the danger in this CrossFit photo is not that the woman in it is lifting weights, she is using a correct technique and has almost certainly reduced the amount she is pumping. The danger is that an ill-informed pregnant lady might see it, and be inspired to copy without having either the technique or the muscles. The message is, and has always been, that exercise in pregnancy is fine but it’s not a time for starting harsh new regimes and all vigorous exercise should be discussed with a health professional first. 19,405 people have “like”d the photo on Facebook – what are the chances of there being someone in there that just decides to give it a go, without the safety measures? It’s all very well to be on a mission to convince women to stay “strong and healthy” during pregnancy, but there are certain caveats that go along with weight-lifting during pregnancy, like not lifting when lying on a bench, and making sure that if you drop the weights it doesn’t hit your bump. It’s hard to express all of that in a photo.
But, there are significant benefits to staying fit during pregnancy. Labour is a long, hard workout and women with well-toned muscles tend to have quicker births. Keeping your weight down mitigates the risk of gestational diabetes and other weight-related complications. Your muscles will also recover quicker after the birth and help you look after the baby more easily. So, weight-lifting can definitely have a beneficial effect but be careful! Always check with your healthcare professional before trying anything like this!
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!
Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!