It was once believed that lifting weight above your head would result in the umbilical cord being wrapped around the babies neck.
This sounds a bit bizarre at first, but surprisingly, many women have been subject to urgent warnings not to raise their arms above their heads for fear of strangling the baby in the womb with the umbilical cord. The truth is a woman’s arm movements have no bearing on a fetus, as her arms are not in any way connected to the umbilical cord. Babies often tangle themselves in their umbilical cord with resulting harm.
Education has taken a big step forward since then because it is ok as long as care is taken. Be especially careful lifting weights over your head in the last three months. It is also advised to not use heavy weights, hold your breath (known as the valsalva manoeuvre) and consult to gym staff/qualified professionals/obstetrician about technique if you are concerned. Overhead lifts will increase the curve in your lower spine so it is recommended to use seated position on a bench to reduce the curve.
(Swapping to front shoulder raises and lateral raises to shoulder height is preferable)
“Exercising during pregnancy, including weight training, comes with many benefits, such as help with labor and delivery, with improving your stamina, and strengthening back muscles to limit back pain,” explains Dr. Alison Mitzner, MD.
“Research has shown that women who exercise regularly are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, and on average have shorter labors, less constipation, and less swelling in the extremities,” says Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, MD.