Bodybuilding in Pregnancy;Benefits, Risks and Care

Regular exercise and healthy eating are recommendations by many professionals for people looking to lead a more balanced life and achieve complete physical and mental well-being. In some cases, however, physical activity should be done only with the advice of a physician so that there are no associated risks, such as pregnant women.Let’s learn how to do bodybuilding in pregnancy, learn about the benefits, risks and precautions you should take before starting an activity and some exercise tips for those in their first trimester of pregnancy.

Why do bodybuilding in pregnancy and what are the benefits? 

The practice of physical exercise is recommended to all people because it has many health benefits, but many people question whether weight training in pregnancy can be done safely and what are the risks of this exercise for pregnant women. Practicing strength exercises in pregnancy can have many benefits, helping to reduce complications during this period and significantly changing the control of a woman’s body posture, greatly reducing the incidence of falls during the last months of pregnancy.

The gestation period is characterized by many changes and adaptations in the woman’s body, generating respiratory, muscular, bone and cardiac changes. These changes happen gradually and, if the pregnant woman does not take good care with food and physical activity, they can impact the quality of life and well-being of both women and babies.

A study showed that during pregnancy many women complain of having low back pain frequently and this is a symptom that has many limitations for pregnant women, disrupting daily activities and reducing quality of life during this period. Research shows that low back pain was frequent in 73% of women with previous low back pain and pregnant women for the first time. This symptom is also more common during the third trimester, where weight on the front of the body greatly influences the problem.

It is also quite common during pregnancy that there is a significant loss of muscle mass and excessive weight gain that in many cases may even lead to gestational obesity. In addition, many postpartum women develop other health problems that are related to this excessive weight gain during pregnancy, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and circulation problems.

Thus, practicing bodybuilding in pregnancy can be a great ally to help improve the health and quality of life of pregnant women. However, it is always important for women to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional so that sports can be done safely and without risk to pregnancy, bringing benefits in an appropriate manner during this period.

Here are the many benefits that bodybuilding in pregnancy can bring to women:

  • Increased muscle strength;
  • Increased flexibility;
  • Reduction of cardiovascular stress generated by pregnancy;
  • Improves body fat control and avoids overweight;
  • Reduction of leg cramps;
  • Improved muscle balance and helps prevent falls;
  • Reduction of pain and complications during pregnancy;
  • Helps control glucose by preventing diabetes;
  • Prevention of urinary continence;
  • Low back pain prevention;
  • Improved insulin sensitivity, preventing diabetes;
  • Helps support the body to increase pregnancy weight;
  • Prepares the woman for labor;
  • Protects against puerperal depression;
  • Improves postpartum recovery;
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles;
  • Relieves intestinal discomfort;
  • Helps improve blood circulation and return.

In addition to all these physical and physiological benefits, bodybuilding in pregnancy can bring numerous emotional advantages to women, improving self-esteem, increasing self-confidence and helping with emotional control during pregnancy that is so important for the well-being of pregnant women.

What are the risks of bodybuilding in pregnancy and what are the main cares?

It is very important that the pregnant woman has the proper medical guidance and follow-up throughout the pregnancy and also to perform the exercise. While there are many advantages and benefits of weight training in pregnancy, it is critical that everything be done safely, as exercise can pose many potential risks to the fetus in situations where the intensity of the exercise is too high.

In some situations, these exercises can create a state of hypoxia to the fetus, and there may also be a risk of abdominal trauma and hyperthermia in the pregnant woman, which is the increase in body temperature causing possible damage to the body. Inadequate exercise can lead to fetal stress, damage to intrauterine growth and even prematurity to the fetus.

Some studies show that an above-normal rise in body temperature with temperatures above 39 ° C may result in defects in neural tube closure, which should occur after the 25th day of conception. Although this risk is rarely reported in studies, it is important that the pregnant woman avoid any situation that results in maternal hyperthermia during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Here are some recommendations and cautions for exercising during pregnancy, according to a survey by Sports Medicine Australia:

  • In women who already practice physical activities, maintain aerobic exercise with moderate intensity during pregnancy;
  • Strength exercises should also be moderate;
  • Avoid training with heart rate above 140 bpm (beats per minute);
  • Work out for a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a week;
  • Avoid activities in hot environments or very heated pools;
  • Avoid exercises in the supine position;
  • Avoid maximum isometric contractions;
  • Consume adequate calories for physical activity and for the health of the baby;
  • Immediately discontinue sports if symptoms of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, visual disturbances, cramps, abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding or any strange and undesirable symptoms appear;

Exercise is, however, contraindicated for women with any complication, including women with thrombophlebitis, acute infectious disease, risk of premature birth, uterine bleeding, decompensated myocardial disease, congestive heart failure, severe isoimmunization, decompensated hypertensive disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, anemia, morbid obesity, decompensated diabetes mellitus , history of extreme physical inactivity or any complications for physical activity.

Conclusion

Physical exercise is recommended for everyone because it has numerous health benefits, but many people question whether weight training in pregnancy can be done safely.Physical activity can be a great ally to help improve the health and quality of life of pregnant women. However, it is always important for women to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional so that the practice is done safely and without risk to pregnancy, bringing benefits properly during this period.

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