When you’re pregnant, lots of things change – and this includes your exercise routine. But fortunately, there are lots of great options for pregnancy workouts. In this post, we’ll explore specific exercises for pregnant women, and we’ll look at good exercises for pregnancy which can be taken (and adapted) from your pre-pregnancy routine.
In this article: 📝
- Why exercise during your pregnancy?
- What kinds of exercises are safe during pregnancy?
- What is the best pregnancy workout?
- What about YouTube workouts?
- When should I start changing my pregnancy workouts?
- And in the third trimester?
- What about pregnancy exercise classes for the whole nine months?
Why exercise during your pregnancy?
Being active and working out when you’re pregnant can be a little different to when you aren’t. The goal is still to stay healthy, but may be less about fitting into your favorite jeans and more about helping your body to carry your baby and give birth.
According to the experts, pregnancy workouts can help mamas-to-be enjoy healthier pregnancies and make labor a little easier. And even when you’re not pregnant, being active can help reduce stress or manage anxiety. Those endorphins are good stuff.
At the same time, your pregnant body is quite different from your “non-pregnant” one. But you can still get nice and sweaty with many of the workouts from pre-pregnancy days, perhaps with some slight changes and/or scaling back on the intensity at times.
What kinds of exercises are safe during pregnancy?
What workouts are safe during pregnancy? Good question.
A few safety tips that are useful to think about:
- Try to get the ok from your healthcare provider if you have questions.
- Drink a lot of water while working out, and afterwards. More than usual.
- Wear a proper sports bra, and also a good pregnancy belly band.
- Try to avoid lying flat on your back, especially during your third trimester.
- Contact sports and hot yoga are best avoided during pregnancy.
Getting your heart rate going by walking, swimming, jogging, and stationary cycling are great during all three trimesters. If your doctor gives you the ok, then they might suggest around 150 minutes of pregnancy exercises a week (as a guideline, no pressure).
And if you’re used to doing more intense workouts, then your doctor may give you the ok to continue for as long as you feel comfortable. But this depends on your own situation, so it’s best to check first.
What is the best pregnancy workout?
The best pregnancy workout will depend on where you are in your pregnancy and how you’re feeling in general. If you’re bursting with energy in the first trimester you might be more up for pilates or hikes than fellow mamas-to-be who struggle with pregnancy nausea.
If you’re keen to be active, then cardiovascular activity and strength training as pregnancy exercises are good prep for carrying your pregnancy tummy and, later on, labor.
You know your body, so just take each day as it comes and see what appeals. Some exercises you might want to try are:
Preparing your body for posture changes with the pelvic curl. It works on spinal mobility and strengthening the abdominal muscles that will support your baby belly.
Can you do squats while pregnant? Yes, you totally can! In fact, it can be an ideal time to get squatting! Building muscles in your lower body is a great way to protect your back for later in your pregnancy.
Get those arms ready for the baby cuddles and carrying. Doing bicep curls is a great workout to prep your arms for all that extra lifting you’re gonna have to do.
What about YouTube workouts?
Why not try following some online prenatal classes on YouTube?
For example, a 25 minute bodyweight workout using no equipment;
or a 15 minute barre workout to help strengthen and tone your body;
or a 25 minute cardio workout to get your heart pumping.
Don’t forget to finish off with some gentle stretching.
When should I start changing my pregnancy workouts?
The second trimester is when many women feel their best (though this isn’t the case for everyone). So this might be a good time to change your routine or try some new exercises.
Your body will have changed over the past few months, so now you might be more wary of high-impact jumping exercises or anything that leaves you too exhausted. But you can still look into low-impact pregnancy HITT classes or pregnancy pilates.
Working on stability and strength is good at this point, so you can try adding in narrow squats, leg squats, and incline push-ups to build up those muscle groups.
And in the third trimester?
Those last few months can be where you see your body forcing you to slow down. And some mamas-to-be might say it feels like more of a full stop. That’s ok.
If you feel up to it, the third trimester can be a good time to focus on cardiovascular and abdominal strength, which helps support your body through labor.
- Prenatal yoga
Be aware that your center of gravity is changing as your belly grows, so that can mean you lose balance more easily, so avoiding exercise that could lead to a fall is a good idea.
What about pregnancy exercise classes for the whole nine months?
We’ve mentioned yoga and pilates, which you can do online or in person. But there are also pregnancy exercise programmes that are available. Some of these cover your whole pregnancy journey and into your fourth trimester for your postpartum recovery, e.g.
Barre classes that can build strength and posture throughout each trimester.
Low-impact, high-intensity exercises that prep the body by strengthening, toning and stretching.
A birth preparation breathing class.
Exercising during your pregnancy can be good for your physical and mental health, as well as your little one’s wellness, but trust your body (and your doctor) if it feels like too much.
If you feel any pain or have any worries chat it through with your OB, and you can also connect with the women in our community to hear their own pregnancy workout tips.