Exercising is important for everyone. We all know it keeps you healthy and helps you feel good. But there are so many “what if’s” associated with pregnancy. Will exercising hurt my baby? Which ones are safe?
Fact is, keeping fit is especially important for pregnant mamas.
It helps you not gain too much weight, (from someone who gained 70lb the first time!) and helps you have those “feel good” hormones that benefit both you and your baby.
It will also help improve your posture as your body adjusts to your growing belly and help ease the fatigue, stress and risk for gestational diabetes (source). Plus did I mention the best benefit of all, easing labor!
All of these perks can help fuel your motivation to get moving!
While on the move and getting in your fitness during pregnancy, it is also very important to take certain precautions. Of course, always talk with your doctor to establish the best possible workout plan.
Here are some safe options to get pregnant mom’s started!
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Table of Contents
Safe & Energizing Exercise Ideas
Walking is a must for any healthy pregnancy. Its low impact and a great cardio workout. It’s also easy because you don’t have to have to wear anything special and no special equipment needed. Just make sure to wear a great pair of shoes!
Walking was actually one of my favorite activities while pregnant. My husband and I would go on evening walks around the neighborhood and used it as our time to connect and talk about any and everything.
Swimming is thought to be one of the best possible exercise options for pregnant women. It’s a great option because it allows you full range of motion without much resistance. It also gives you a good muscular and cardio workout at the same time.
Plus, the feeling of weightlessness feels amazing on an ever-expanding body, and it’s zero impact!
Another no impact exercise, water aerobics! If your not really a “swimmer” a basic water aerobic exercise class could be a great option! It gives you a full body workout, and again, the feeling of weightlessness can relieve so many of the normal aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
If you’re really lucky, your local classes may even have a pregnancy specific class, where you can meet other soon-to-be mom’s.
Squats (For a Faster Birth)
Although pregnant mothers should not be squatting for long periods of time there are many benefits to this particular exercise. Squatting can help strengthen your pelvic floor, decrease pain, and help prepare your body for labor.
My favorite midwife Ina May is quoted with saying “squat 300 times a day, your going to give birth quickly.”
Yoga is a great exercise for toning muscles. It also does wonders to keep mothers flexible and helping reduce stress. Balance out your cardio workouts by working yoga into your daily routine.
You will find many physical benefits, as well as calming psychological benefits. Yoga is a mind-body exercise which means that it calms the mind and alleviates stress and anxiety, two issues of special concern for many newly expectant moms.
Since you and your baby are essential one during pregnancy, your stress levels will directly affect your baby, and can even shape the way their brain develops.
One of my favorite pregnancy books discusses the effects mama’s emotions on baby in length. I will warn, it’s a very “sciencey” read through, but study based and very informative!
Just like yoga, Pilates can tone your entire body and improve muscle strength without straining your body. Pilates also allows pregnant moms to build a strong core, strengthen their back, pelvis, and abdominal muscles.
Dancing is versatile and can be done at home, in a class, or at most special events! It’s a great cardio workout, and a lot of fun too!
While pregnant, try to keep your moves simple and no busting out the big guns. You wouldn’t want to risk an injury at this time.
Stretching will keep you agile and flexible. This will help you relieve lots of aches and pains during your entire pregnancy and keep you limber for birth.
This can help pregnant mothers to feel more mobile when muscular strain increases.
Add stretching to your routine for a more well-rounded approach to fitness. Gentle stretching will also help prevent you from injuring any muscles, which can cause you to have a hard time laboring later.
My mother once pulled her groin muscle while pregnant, and couldn’t bear to push during labor due to the injury hurting so severely.
Much like swimming and walking, a stationary bike offers a low impact cardio workout. Go to your local gym and use one of their bikes or even consider getting a bike for your own home.
The great thing about these workout machines is they allow you to choose how much resistance it gives you.
This means that pregnant women who are already super fit and used to regular exercise can increase their resistance, while those who are not can lower it so they work their bodies too hard.
Another great machine based option for low impact cardio is the elliptical machine. This is a more strenuous workout, so be sure to check with your doctor.
Exercises & Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Exercising in hot weather (No hot tubs)
- Scuba diving
- Contact Sports
- Regular Bicycling
- Lying on your back for an extended time
- Deep bends
- Excessive jumping or bouncing
Importance of Rest
Just as exercising is important so is rest! Always consider the health of the mom, baby, and other vital factors.
Women with health issues like heart or lung disease, diabetes, or other gestational complications may be advised to steer clear of all physical activity.
Always speak with your OB or health care professional to create a personalized plan.
With a better understanding of exercise during pregnancy, you can better tackle your fitness goals! Discuss exercise during your pregnancy to find the right plan for you. With the right low impact exercises, soon to be mama’s can have the best pregnancy experience possible.
Fight symptoms, risks, and other complications of pregnancy along with maintaining weight control with a natural remedy—exercise.
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