Describe safety and efficacy of a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity strength training program adopted during pregnancy among women at increased risk for back pain.
32 women adopted strength training twice per week for 12 weeks. Data on musculoskeletal injuries, symptoms, blood pressure, and the absolute external load used for 5 of 6 exercises were obtained during each session. A submaximal lumbar extension endurance exercise test was performed at weeks 5, 10, and 13.
The mean (± SD) exercise session attendance rate was 80.5% (± 11.3%). No musculoskeletal injuries occurred. Potentially adverse symptoms (eg, dizziness) were infrequent (2.1% of sessions). Repeated-measures ANOVA showed large increases in the external load across 12 weeks (all P values < .001) and the percentage increases in external load from weeks 1 to 12 were 36% for leg press, 39% for leg curl, 39% for lat pull down, 41% for lumbar extension and 56% for leg extension. Training was associated with a 14% increase in lumbar endurance. Blood pressure was unchanged following acute exercise sessions and after 12 weeks of exercise training.
The adoption of a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity strength training program during pregnancy can be safe and efficacious for pregnant women.