“Getting away from avoidant language,” Barbell Medicine, Ep. #167: Exercise in Pregnancy

Is it safe to train during pregnancy? Even before this episode of Barbell Medicine, I had a strong feeling this was the wrong question. It needn’t be “is it safe or unsafe?” That’s black-and-white thinking, which is rarely the right approach in things health and fitness.

Instead, we need to ask the more nuanced questions of what kinds of activity are safe during a pregnancy? How hard can someone push themselves without risking the health of the baby or increasing the risk of complications? I’m grateful for the docs at Barbell Medicine for tackling these questions with their usual, “don’t panic” style.

Yes, it’s ok to train during pregnancy. This probably isn’t the time to push yourself to new levels of intensity. It probably isn’t a great idea to go at it assuming you can maintain the same level of load or volume as you had before you became pregnant. But using autoregulation tools like RPE can help someone navigate keeping their activity levels in a healthy range.

I think it’s interesting that several times they mention that for the majority of folks, they are doing less activity than is recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Like with a lot of training conversations, including here at Progressive Strength, we are speaking to the minority when we’re talking to the folks who are consistently pushing themselves hard and want to keep doing it through life’s transitions. It’s a valuable reminder that our messaging needs to include the vast majority of folks, not just our own pocket of the universe. Do what you can to stay active; it’s better for you and for the baby.


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