Weightlifting and Pregnancy: How Working Out Helped Me Prepare to Have a Baby

Lifting weights helped me have a baby.

That’s right, going to the gym and training with weights in addition to doing cardio was instrumental in me having a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated childbirth.

From conception to postpartum recovery, here are reasons I’m glad I started working out before I got pregnant:

Weight Lifting and Getting Pregnant

I started training at Women’s Lift Lab, a women’s-only weight training gym here in Gainesville, in October 2020. My husband and I started seriously trying to conceive in January 2022 and I threw myself into working out so I could help my body be as healthy as possible. Since joining the Lift Lab I’ve lost 50 pounds from my heaviest weight and I got so much stronger, physically and mentally! My doctor had recommended that my husband and I both loose weight when we were trying to get pregnant, and working out with a trainer (shoutout Mike and Michelle!) who could help me do it in a safe way made all the difference!

Working Out Kept Me From Gaining Excess Pregnancy Weight

I worked out throughout my entire pregnancy up until 4 days before I gave birth! I modified my workouts so I could do them safely, and my trainer helped me focus on exercises that would help me in childbirth and in carrying the excess weight I was going to gain.

Even though deadlifts made me want to vomit and there were a couple days I cried and went home because I was so tired, I made an effort to train as best I could, and it paid off! I am already back to my pre-pregnancy weight at 3 months postpartum, and I weigh less now than I did when I got pregnant!

37 weeks pregnant vs 11 weeks postpartum

Weight Lifting Helped Treat My Gestational Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes after working out and eating pretty healthy throughout my pregnancy was a shock. The doctor basically told me I had it, gave me a piece of paper with a recommended diet and said if I didn’t get my blood sugar under control I’d have to go on insulin.

Luckily, thanks to a strict low-carb diet and daily exercise, I was able to keep my numbers under control and I didn’t have to go on insulin. I am not a medical professional, but I believe that lifting weights helped keep my blood sugar under control.

Lifting Weights Helped My Body Prepare for Childbirth

Giving birth is the hardest workout you will ever do in your life. When you hear about workouts for childbirth many focus on squatting, but you don’t realize you will use ever muscle in your body!

My shoulders, abs and back were all extremely sore after having my baby from holding myself up and pushing. It hurt to lift my arms and sit down. Everything just hurt! But I didn’t experience any tearing and I was up and walking out of the hospital less than 48 hours after my delivery. (You can read my full birth story here)

I Recovered Faster

Because I had been in good physical shape, probably the best shape I’ve ever been in, while I was pregnant, my recovery was smooth and my body was feeling back to normal about 8 weeks after giving birth.

I live on the third floor of an apartment building without an elevator, so I knew I had to be able to walk up and down the stairs after having the baby, then with the baby while I was recovering. Doing exercises like farmers carries and lunges helped make sure I was able to do this just days after I got home.

At 9 weeks postpartum I was back in the gym! I still have a long way to go in my journey to get my strength back to where it was, but I am so grateful for the people at Women’s Lift Lab and for the fact that I was able to workout to be in the best shape I could be in for my baby boy!

My new gym buddy!

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