Thirteen incidents of potentially problematic symptoms were reported after the 618 workout sessions, all of which involved headache, pelvic pain and dizziness. Some pelvic pain can be expected in pregnant women with back pain, said O'Connor. "The one thing you have to be a little careful about is dizziness," he added.Rates of dizziness went down after the first few workouts, as the women learned to lift weights while maintaining proper breathing techniques for exercise, he said.
The researchers also monitored blood pressure over the course of the study. "We wanted to see if a weight training program would lower blood pressure, which would be beneficial, or if potentially on the other side it would raise blood pressure, which would be of concern to a pregnant woman," said O'Connor. People often experience a small reduction in blood pressure immediately after a workout, but the researchers found no change in the 32 pregnant women after each individual session or after the entire 12-week program. "So the weight-training program was neither good nor bad for blood pressure," he said.
O'Connor collaborated with Melanie Poudevigne, now the director of health and fitness management in the department of natural sciences at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga. O'Connor said that the research could not have been completed without the support of forward-thinking physicians. The researchers worked in conjunction with obstetricians and midwives in Athens, Ga.
Now that O'Connor and his colleagues have provided evidence that a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity training program is safe and effective, he plans to study whether or not the weight-training program can help reduce back pain in pregnant women.
|Contact: Patrick OConnor|
University of Georgia