Recently a very pregnant woman was skewered on the Internet for doing heavy weightlifting two weeks before her due date.
In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Daniel Roshan, an assistant professor at New York University Medical School and a maternal fetal medicine specialist, said, "pregnant women should be careful not to push their heart rates above 140 beats per minute or raise their body temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit."
One of the main reasons for avoiding heavy weightlifting and extreme exercise is to avoid exercise exhaustion.
Roshan added, "heavy weight lifting during pregnancy is generally discouraged because it could put pressure on the abdomen, uterus and cervix, which could increase the likelihood of premature labor."
In regards to the viral photo of the woman lifting weights, she could be an exception to the rule because she lifts regularly, has good technique and is well conditioned. This is not recommended, though, for women who have never picked up weights.
During pregnancy, exercise is good for you and your baby. However, you want to check with your medical profession to confirm any limitations or stipulations during your pregnancy. This isn't the time to push yourself to your limits.
Weight training provides benefits during pregnancy and after childbirth. However, weight training fitness goals should be geared toward maintenance and not dramatic gains.
Here are some tips from fitness expert Tracey Mallett and BabyCenter.com about exercising when you are pregnant:
• Be extremely careful with free weights to prevent them from hitting your abdomen.
• Listen to your body.
• Use lighter weights, more reps.
• Use resistance bands which offer different amounts of resistance and varied ways to do your weight training and pose no risk to your belly.
• Do not perform deep twists during a lifting (or yoga) session when pregnant.
• Avoid deep forward bends such as those required for deadlifts and cleans.
• Be mindful of repeated overhead arm movements as delivery gets closer.
• If you're going to lift, consider getting some insoles to support your feet.