The Benefits Of Exercising While Pregnant + Safe Workouts For Every Trimester

Updated on September 25, 2019

First things first, in most cases it is usually safe to exercise during pregnancy. Let’s just get that out of the way.

Regular workouts during any stage of your pregnancy can play an important role when it comes to improving your overall health, reducing the risk of back pain, preventing excess weight gain, and it may even make your delivery easier.

Moreover, moderate exercise during pregnancy may give your newborn a healthier start.

And while it has always been a debate on whether pregnant mommies should hit the gym or just stay indoors and rest, health and fitness experts from ​ puts that debate to rest and advise that it’s essential to keep moving when you’re expecting!

When is exercising while pregnant advised?

Whether you were physically active before you were pregnant or not, staying active during maternity is likely safe. Even your healthcare provider will most likely recommend you to stay active.

So as long as it’s comfortable enough for you and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise. Then go ahead! Go exercise.

But do keep in mind that exercising during pregnancy is not about weight loss, it is instead for a whole host of other benefits.

When is exercising while pregnant not advised?

In most cases, exercising will not put harm to you or your baby. But this isn’t always the case. In some situations, it is best if you avoid exercising altogether.

Important: If you have any of the following, then you most likely need to stop exercising:

  • The development of placenta previa, a complication where a low-lying placenta covers part or all of your cervix;
  • Bleeding and/or spotting;
  • Weak cervix;
  • The potential for preterm delivery;
  • Experiencing pain in the abdomen, chest, and/or pelvis;
  • Have a sudden flow of fluid from the vagina;
  • Regular contractions more than 30 minutes after exercise.

If you are unsure, or not confident regarding what complications you may or may not have, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before you attempt any of the exercises below.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Once you have been cleared to work out, a new path to wellness will open up to you. Did you know that just by working out for 30 minutes a day you can reap a whole host of benefits not only for you but also your baby as well?

But if that sounds like too much work, then you’ll be happy to know that you can lower that amount to just 20 minutes per session, and up to 3 or 4 days a week.

Tip:​​ plan the days and times throughout the week when you will exercise so you can effectively complete your workout routine during pregnancy.

Exercising during pregnancy also helps in:

  • reducing back pain
  • improves your overall mood
  • increases your energy
  • improves your body posture
  • helps you sleep better
  • promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance

Remaining physically active may also improve your ability to cope with labour, making it easier for you to get back in shape afterwards.

Basic Guidelines in Planning Exercise During Pregnancy

  • When working out, it’s ideal for wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, and an excellent supportive bra.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes designed for the type of workout you are doing.
  • To prevent injury, do your workouts on a flat, level surface.
  • Ensure to eat enough healthy calories to meet the needs not only of your pregnancy but also your exercise program.
  • Eat at least an hour before working out.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise.
  • To prevent dizziness. Get up slowly and gradually after performing floor exercises.

Avoid These Types of Exercises During Pregnancy

  • Don’t perform exercises that may cause you any abdominal trauma, including activities with harsh motions or rapid changes in direction.
  • Avoid exercises that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping.
  • Bouncing while stretching.
  • Avoid waist twisting movements while you’re standing.
  • Never exercise in hot, humid weather.
  • Don’t hold your breath for an extended period.
  • Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion.

5 General Pregnancy Exercises for Every Trimester

Brisk Walking

In most cases, staying fit while pregnant doesn’t mean full-time commitment at the gym or investing in fancy equipment. In fact, pregnant moms are encouraged to do something a lot more simple. Brisk walking.

This type of outdoor exercise is sure to provide a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on the knees and ankles. And what’s good about taking a walk is it can be done for free, almost anywhere, and at any time!

This workout is safe to do in each trimester.

Safety Tip:To maintain your balance and coordination, it is best to walk on smooth surfaces, and make sure to avoid rocks, potholes, and other obstacles. That means roads over trails.


Swimming is considered safe during pregnancy. This physical activity can help you to keep fit, making it easier for you to adapt to pregnancy.

Incorporating swimming and exercising in water allows you to have a better range of motion without putting too much pressure on your joints. Taking a class may also help you feel better than ever about the changes in your body.

Safety Tip:​​ Choose a stoke (e.g. breaststroke) that makes you comfortable enough, and that doesn’t strain your neck, shoulders, or back muscles.

Here are some things you need to be mindful of to prevent such injuries:

  • To avoid slipping, use the railing for balance when entering the water.
  • Avoid jumping or diving as this could affect your abdomen.
  • Avoid hot tubs, steam rooms, warm pools, or even saunas, to minimise your risk of overheating.

Stationary Cycling

Known as spinning, cycling on a stationary bike is safe not only for pregnant mums but also for first-time exercisers.

This exercise can help in increasing your heart rate without putting too much stress on the joints. On the other hand, the bike supports body weight, and since it’s stationary, the risk of falling is unlikely.

Tip:​​ a higher handlebar may be more comfortable for pregnant mothers.


While yoga is a great way not only to strengthen the muscles but also to stimulate blood circulation and enhance relaxation, prenatal yoga, on the other hand, helps in keeping the joints limber while maintaining flexibility.

In addition, this may contribute to healthy blood pressure during pregnancy.

Bonus points:the techniques learnt in a yoga class may also allow you to stay calm and in control during your labour.

Low-Impact Aerobics

Aerobic exercises are a perfect way to strengthen the heart and lungs and in maintaining muscle tone. Low-impact aerobics excludes jumping, leaps, high kicks, or fast running.

Some aerobics classes are designed especially for pregnant women, such as Zumba. This also can be an excellent way to meet other pregnant women, as well as working out with an instructor who is well-trained to meet your particular needs.

Tip:​​ If you’re attending a regular aerobics class, you must let the instructor know that you are pregnant. This way, they can modify specific exercises that are suitable for your current condition.

Be Mindful In Whatever You Do

Be mindful that physical changes during pregnancy generate extra demands on your body.

This is why exercising with care is a must.

For anyone with a medical condition, such as heart disease, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, or a pregnancy-related condition, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider first before proceeding with these exercises.

Author Bio :

Isabel Speckman is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home mother of three. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Her writing skills may be confirmed independently on Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.