Strength training is one of the most useful forms of exercise for humans, but especially for pregnant women. Though it may have been traditionally thought of for men, research now shows us how beneficial it is for everyone. On average, women are waiting longer now to conceive, making strength training even more helpful during pregnancy and in recovery.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her body must adjust to the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes taking place. The uterus will expand, abdominal muscles stretch, ribs can push out, extra pressure is on the pelvic floor, among many other changes. Strength training can improve the strength and length of muscles and tissue surrounding the baby. This can minimize pregnancy discomfort as well as improve recovery time.
When muscles and connective tissue are strong and well developed, a pregnant woman generally has better posture, experiences less abdominal separation (diastasis recti), and is able to use her strong musculature to assist her during delivery. There are four main abdominal muscles that are stretched during pregnancy. Overstretched muscle loses tension which causes it to become weaker.
After pregnancy some women find that their stomach hangs, giving them that pooched look. Strength training can help women rehabilitate those overstretched muscles, which is especially helpful during subsequent pregnancies. Because your baby develops underneath muscle, women should strength train before pregnancy, between pregnancies, and continue beyond childbearing years. Doing so can make you feel great and ease the transition into motherhood.