Effective Pregnancy Workouts for Every Trimester
Wondering about safe workouts for pregnancy? You’ve landed on the right page! Fitness and an active lifestyle are really important during pregnancy for a number of reasons and are great for both you and your baby. Some of the benefits of good pregnancy workouts include:
- Reducing pregnancy symptoms such as constipation, muscle aches, and fatigue.
- Gaining less body fat, which means a faster return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
- A better night’s sleep, which leads to decreased anxiety, fewer mood swings, and better mental clarity.
- More fitness and stamina makes the birthing process easier, reducing your chances of needing a C-section.
- Allows you to get fresh air and ‘me time’ to reflect on your day and plan for your future.
Today, we share some of the best pregnancy workouts for busy moms-to-be. Enjoy!
Pregnancy Workouts 1st Trimester
If you’re already fairly active, you should find it easy to stay active in the first trimester of pregnancy. Just make sure you’re listening to your body – don’t push it so hard that you’re out of breath, have plenty to eat, and don’t let yourself get thirsty or overheated.
If you weren’t particularly active before conceiving, experts still recommend that you have a regular exercise routine to decrease the risk of pregnancy complications and ensure your baby gets the best start in life. The following table shows you what workouts are safe during pregnancy and which are not:
Workouts for Early Pregnancy
|Safe Pregnancy Exercises||Unsafe Pregnancy Workouts|
|Walking and (gentle) jogging - keeps all that extra blood pumping healthily and gets you out in the fresh air. Try for 30 minutes every day.||Intense exercise where your heart rate is elevated above 140 or you find it difficult to breathe.|
|Pregnancy yoga and/or Pilates - helps with breathing techniques, core strength and much more. Join a class or grab a DVD and try it at home.||Stomach crunches or sit-ups - can put unhealthy pressure on your uterus and baby.|
|Swimming - an excellent low impact workout which is both strengthening and cardiovascular. 20 minutes three times a week is a great place to start. Just don't let yourself get thirsty!||Risky activities such as skiing, horseriding, or rock climbing - anything with a risk of falling or impact.|
|Low impact aerobics sessions - many health centers offer specialized pregnancy gym workouts and there are lots of great home DVDs, too.||Heavy weight-lifting sessions - this could put undue stress on your baby and your body.|
2nd Trimester Workouts
The beautiful thing about the second trimester is that you often shake off the sluggishness of the early months and get a sudden burst of energy. But it’s important not to overdo it!
All of the exercises in the safe workouts first-trimester table are still appropriate in the second trimester. Just make sure that you’re tuned into your body and you don’t allow yourself to overheat or get thirsty. Doctors recommend trying to maintain a heart rate of 140 for pregnancy workouts (lower than cardiovascular exercise for weight loss). The best measure of whether your exertion level is right is your breathing. If you can carry out a conversation and are not gasping for air (but you’re working up a bit of a sweat), then you’ve probably got it about right.
Aerobics, yoga, and Pilates are excellent for core strength in the second trimester. But avoid any exercises where you have to lie on your back. This can make blood flow to you and your baby more difficult.
Staying Active in the Final Trimester
By the time you reach the third trimester you’re probably starting to feel tired and heavy. But that doesn’t mean you should give up exercise altogether. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day – your body will thank you for it! Try these tips for getting safe pregnancy exercise in your final weeks:
- Take a light evening stroll around the park with your partner – you’ll get quality time together, you’ll be getting fresh air, and you can stop and rest on a bench whenever you need to!
- If swimming is too strenuous, try aqua walking instead. Gently walking up and down the pool for thirty minutes or so provides excellent low impact exercise.
- Try some gentle yoga exercises and stretches – just remember to avoid and that involve lying on your back or balancing on one leg.
- Sit on a swiss ball and practice arm and leg lifts – it’ll help strengthen your core and prepare your body for delivery.
Make Sure You Dress Comfortably for Pregnancy Workouts:
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time getting active during your pregnancy, you might want to think about investing in some good quality maternity workout clothes. They’re tailor-made for pregnant women and are much less likely to cut in of chafe uncomfortably. Check out our reviews of maternity activewear here.
Need a Little Extra Guidance?
If you’re not confident to go it alone with your pregnancy workouts, many gyms and fitness centers offer special pregnancy workout classes. Or, if you’d rather work out in the privacy of your own home, there are lots of great pregnancy DVD workouts on the market.
Check some out here:
One final word of advice: listen to your body! Enjoy being active but never push yourself harder than you need to. Feel free to ask any questions you have about pregnancy-safe workouts – we’re here to help!
Do You Have a Pregnancy Fitness Suggestion?
We love hearing about how our readers make pregnancy work for them. If you have a workout suggestion or question, feel free to post in the comments section below or to send a private message through our contact us page. We’re super friendly and we always reply!
More on Pregnancy Health and Fitness:
I mentioned yoga quite a few times in this post and really believe it’s one of the best pregnancy workouts you can do. Find out more about pregnancy yoga and decide if it’s right for you here.
As always, diet and exercise go hand in hand. Find out about what makes up a safe and healthy pregnancy diet here.
Track the changes in your body and your baby’s development each week in our pregnancy calendar.