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Safe Exercises to do While Pregnant

Last updated: June 14, 2022

Many precautions need to be taken during pregnancy, so you might think it's best to avoid exercise while pregnant.

But exercise can actually do a lot to help your health and your baby's health. Of course, you need to be careful about the activities you do while pregnant, and how you exercise will need to change as your pregnancy progresses.

In this article, we'll discuss:

Keep reading to learn more about how to exercise while pregnant safely.

Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant

There are many benefits to exercising while pregnant.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Regular exercise can help to:

  • Reduce back pain
  • Increase energy levels
  • Promote better sleep
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Ease constipation
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase your strength, stamina, and endurance
  • Make delivery and recovery easier

Safety Tips

While exercising while pregnant has a host of benefits, it’s important to remember that you are now working with a different set of guidelines. Here are some general safety tips for exercising while pregnant:

  • Check with your doctor to get clearance before starting or continuing an exercise routine.
  • Choose low-impact activities.
  • Avoid exercises that require lying flat on your back after the first trimester.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and clothes.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy, faint, or short of breath.
  • Avoid hot yoga and becoming overheated, especially during your first trimester.

Exercises During the First Trimester

The first trimester is often a time when women feel exhausted and nauseous. While it's safe for you to continue your regular exercise routine as long as you're not a high-risk pregnancy, you might need to cut back on the intensity or duration of your workouts.

Cardio: If you're just starting to exercise, now is not the time to start a high-intensity workout routine. Instead, focus on gentle exercises like walking and swimming. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Strength training: If you're already strength training, there's no need to stop. Just be sure to listen to your body and don't lift anything heavier than what you can comfortably handle. You may also want to start incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your routine, as these can help prepare you for your body's changing needs during pregnancy and delivery. Two of the best pelvic exercises include pelvic curls and pelvic braces.

Yoga and Pilates: These are great exercises to do during all stages of pregnancy and can help with everything from relaxation to improving your posture. Just be sure to avoid any hot yoga classes.

Exercises During the Second Trimester

The second trimester is often when women feel their best during pregnancy. You might have more energy and less nausea now, so it’s a great time to focus on strengthening your entire body.

Cardio: Maintaining a good cardio routine is as important in the second trimester as during the first. Walking, swimming, and biking are great exercises during pregnancy. If you’re already doing a more intense workout like running, there’s no need to stop, but be sure to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary.

Strength training: Strength training is essential for pregnant women because it helps improve your posture, reduces back pain, and can help prevent injuries. Focus on exercises that work your entire body, such as squats, lunges, and push-ups. If you’re new to strength training, start with bodyweight exercises before adding dumbbells or resistance bands.

Pelvic stabilization: As your belly continues to grow, your center of gravity will shift, which can lead to back pain. Pelvic stabilization exercises help improve your balance and strengthen the muscles that support your spine and pelvis.

Stretching: As your posture changes with your growing belly, it's important to develop a stretching routine that focuses on the lower back, glutes, hip flexors, and quads.

Exercises During the Third Trimester

The third trimester is when your baby starts to grow the most. You might start feeling more tired now, so it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary while still maintaining a good third-trimester exercise routine.

Cardio: Just like in the first and second trimesters, it’s essential to maintain a good cardio routine. You can continue doing the same exercises you were doing in the previous trimesters, but be sure to listen to your body and take breaks if you need to.

Strength training: Focus on abdominal strength exercises and exercises that work your entire body during your third trimester, such as Pilates, prenatal yoga, pelvic floor exercises, and bodyweight movements.

Avoid exercises that put you at the risk of falling during the final stage of pregnancy. Because your center of gravity will be changing daily, it’s essential to be extra careful to avoid exercises that can lead to a loss of balance during this time.

FAQs

What are the best leg exercises for pregnancy?

The best leg exercises for pregnancy include squats, lunges, and calf raises. These exercises help tone and strengthen the muscles in your legs, which can help to reduce the risk of injuries.

What are the best abs exercises while pregnant?

Try Pilates, prenatal yoga, and pelvic floor exercises to keep your abs strong while pregnant. These exercises help tone and strengthen the muscles in your abdomen, which can help to improve your posture and reduce back pain.

What are the best exercises for lower back pain during pregnancy?

Some of the best exercises for lower back pain during pregnancy include pelvic stabilization exercises, hamstring stretches, and glute bridges. These exercises help strengthen the muscles that support your spine and pelvis, which can help reduce pain and improve your posture.


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