Is It Safe to Strength Train While Pregnant?

Mission Monday Episode 3

Over 60% of expectant mothers do not exercise during pregnancy.

Some of these cases are high-risk pregnancies, where extreme caution is required.

For other expectant mothers, is it safe to strength train?

Health Concerns For Strength Training While Pregnant

Physiologically, the most commonly identified concerns are potential damage to the fetus, hyperthermia, and disrupting the regular blood flow to the fetus.

Several studies show that these concerns are just that — they are ONLY concerns. Strength training does not actually cause those potential issues.

Most importantly, strength training does NOT increase the risk of a miscarriage or any negative labor side effects.

As a whole, strength training is safe for pregnant women.

It Can Actually Be Dangerous To Not Exercise During Pregnancy

Inactivity during pregnancy could lead to excess weight gain and a large loss of muscle tissue. In addition, inactivity enhances the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Strength training can prevent all of these concerns, plus provide other benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improving posture
  • Strengthening key muscles that are involved in labor
  • Having less strain during labor
  • Decreasing the chances of suffering lower back pain
  • AND…reducing the risk of preeclampsia by anywhere from 24 to 54%

Strength training is not only a good choice for the mom. Babies from strength-trained moms are generally longer and have more lean mass.

The research identified a few safety considerations for mothers going into strength training. To maximize safety, avoid holding your breath during exercise, stay away from exercises that can cause potential bone and ligament injuries — such as deadlifts and back squats — and avoid overhead lifts after the first trimester.

Follow Your Physician’s Lead

If your doctor supports strength training, go for it. The research shows that strength training during pregnancy is not only safe for the mother and the fetus, but it reduces pregnancy and labor pains, decreases the risk of common pregnancy-related health problems, and helps ensure a safe amount of weight gain

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Pujol, T. J., Barnes, J. T., Elder, C. L., & LaFontaine, T. (2007). Resistance training during pregnancy. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 44-46.
  • Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Resistance training during pregnancy: safe and effective program design. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(5), 67-75.

Is It Safe to Strength Train While Pregnant?

Mission Monday Episode 3

Over 60% of expectant mothers do not exercise during pregnancy.

Some of these cases are high-risk pregnancies, where extreme caution is required.

For other expectant mothers, is it safe to strength train?

Health Concerns For Strength Training While Pregnant

Physiologically, the most commonly identified concerns are potential damage to the fetus, hyperthermia, and disrupting the regular blood flow to the fetus.

Several studies show that these concerns are just that — they are ONLY concerns. Strength training does not actually cause those potential issues.

Most importantly, strength training does NOT increase the risk of a miscarriage or any negative labor side effects.

As a whole, strength training is safe for pregnant women.

It Can Actually Be Dangerous To Not Exercise During Pregnancy

Inactivity during pregnancy could lead to excess weight gain and a large loss of muscle tissue. In addition, inactivity enhances the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Strength training can prevent all of these concerns, plus provide other benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improving posture
  • Strengthening key muscles that are involved in labor
  • Having less strain during labor
  • Decreasing the chances of suffering lower back pain
  • AND…reducing the risk of preeclampsia by anywhere from 24 to 54%


Strength training is not only a good choice for the mom. Babies from strength-trained moms are generally longer and have more lean mass.

The research identified a few safety considerations for mothers going into strength training. To maximize safety, avoid holding your breath during exercise, stay away from exercises that can cause potential bone and ligament injuries — such as deadlifts and back squats — and avoid overhead lifts after the first trimester.

Follow Your Physician’s Lead

If your doctor supports strength training, go for it. The research shows that strength training during pregnancy is not only safe for the mother and the fetus, but it reduces pregnancy and labor pains, decreases the risk of common pregnancy-related health problems, and helps ensure a safe amount of weight gain.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Pujol, T. J., Barnes, J. T., Elder, C. L., & LaFontaine, T. (2007). Resistance training during pregnancy. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 44-46.
  • Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Resistance training during pregnancy: safe and effective program design. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(5), 67-75.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This