Pregnant? Do NOT lift overhead when working out! Find out why…

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pregnancy_FactsA little while ago I sent out a newsletter saying that you should NOT lift any weights over your head or do any shoulder press exercises in the gym.

Since then it has spun a whole web of questions like: I’m changing the color of my baby’s walls, can I still paint overhead? I’m a bartender, can I still reach overhead and grab glasses? And so on….

My answer to both these questions is – YES! As long as you don’t feel any strain or sharp pains, you can continue to reach over your head, but stay in touch with your body! Listen to what it is telling you and don’t push yourself past “comfortable”!

What I do DISCOURAGE, though, is lifting WEIGHTS over your head.


Firstly, most people tend to hold their breath when lifting overhead. Holding your breath will raise your blood pressure, cut off precious oxygen to your baby and increase your risk of passing out – obviously a NO-NO during pregnancy!

Secondly (and most importantly!), your growing tummy puts a LOT of pressure on your back. When you add “weight lifting” to that – you’re ADDING extra (unnecessary) pressure that most OFTEN can lead to lower back problems – not something you want to be dealing with!

If you DO have Back Discomfort…

Stretch and remain active for as long as you comfortably can. There will be a point where you feel UNCOMFORTABLE (I hit my wall at 34 weeks!), so enjoy moving around as much as you can now!

For lower back discomfort, concentrate on good posture and stretching.

Also, make sure you are NOT standing with your knees locked. Keep your knees unlocked and your pelvis tilted under, not arched. Use your tummy muscles (or whatever’s left of them!) by pulling your belly button in and holding it (do NOT hold your breath – breathe as normal!).

2 Great stretches to EASE your aches:

1. Quads & Hip flexor Stretch

Stand, holding on to a wall, grab one foot (knee pointing towards the floor) with the same side arm. With your abs tight, push your hip forward and pull your knee back. Make sure your knees are touching (or almost touching!). Do not lean forward! Hold the stretch for 30 – 60 seconds and remember to BREATHE!

2. Hamstring Stretch

Stand with your foot on a chair, tilt your toes towards your nose and lean forward from your lower back (do NOT round your back!) until you feel the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 – 60 seconds and remember to BREATHE!

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