Exercise during pregnancy: Update

After yesterdays post about exercise during pregnancy, there was a question about what specific reps and sets of resistance should be done. So here goes…

…I have a short, official, answer and a long, unofficial, answer.  Here is the short one:

There are no specific recommendations for sets/reps at present.

What this actually means is that in all the studies done so far, no one has been able to show if one sets/reps range is better/worse/safer/more dangerous than another.  So no one is going to say “do this” or “do that”. So this leads me to my longer, unofficial, answer.


Please bare in mind that from this point on, I am purely giving my own opinion built from my own understanding of the subject.  If anyone out there knows for a fact that I am wrong, please let me know. The factors I take into account are:

  • Women should try to maintain their fitness/strength, rather than improve it.
  • Joints can become “loose” during pregnancy.

With these factor in mind, I suggest that women could do far worse than simply

continuing with their usual sets/reps that they did before pregnancy, but decreasing the intensity as pregnancy develops.

eg – if you usually did 3 sets of 10 reps at 20kg…continue doing 3 sets of 10 reps, but with maybe only 15kg. But because of the loosening of the joints, I would do exercises that involve both arms/legs simultaneously.  eg shoulder press/squats instead of tricep kickbacks or lunges.  This way, one limb can help/support the other.  My thinking behind this is, if  something happens to the joint in one limb, at least there is the other one there to take over/save the day. This is the same reason you always find 2 pilots in airliners. Of course, the above advice is fine if you have been doing exercise before you became pregnant (and I hope you have!).  But what if you are new to exercise? If this is the case, my advice would be to go to your local leisure centre and find/join a class for mothers-to-be.  10 minutes of hands on, face to face advice is worth a million web pages! Good luck and congratulations!!