What Does Exercise Look Like While You Are Pregnant?

January 13, 2021

Want to know more about exercising while you are pregnant?  There are plenty of fun and safe exercises to do while you are pregnant.  First, always consult with your doctor prior to starting any new exercise programs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has a great list of Frequently Asked Questions to review as well.

Benefits of Exercising 

Although there will be days when you don’t feel like exercising, the payoffs might be the push you need to get you going.  Even after a short hike, you may feel that it boosts your mood and decreases many of your pregnancy symptoms like backaches and constipation.  It will also help with your postpartum recovery time.  You will strengthen your heart and blood vessels along with improving your overall health and wellness. Most exercises are safe to do while you are pregnant.  However, it is always best to consult with your OBGYN to see what exercises are right for you and your pregnancy.

Let’s have a look at what exercises you may be interested in or you feel that you can work into your schedule.


  • Swimming

Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to get exercise while being pregnant.  Plus, exercising in the water is easier on your joints and ligaments. There are other benefits to taking a dip in the pool – you may get relief from nausea, sciatic pain, and swollen ankles. 

  • Walking

Walking is one of the easiest ways to work exercise into your schedule.  You can add in 15-minute intervals throughout the day.  Or you can make it a family routine to go for a nice walk before or after dinner.  No need to buy special equipment or spend money on a gym membership – plus it gives you an excuse to buy some new sneakers.

  • Running

If you are an experienced runner, it is perfectly fine to continue to run with your doctor’s approval.  Take it easy though – run on level terrain.  You will be more prone to injury during this time. During pregnancy, you may have loose ligaments and joints – making running a little harder on the knees.

  • Ellipticals & Stair Climbers

During your pregnancy, you may enjoy hopping on your elliptical or stair climber from time to time.  Listen to your body and adjust the speed, incline, and tension to a level that feels comfortable to you.  Be careful and watch your step to avoid any falls.

  • Dance or low-impact aerobic classes

Do you love a great dance class or doing low-impact aerobics because it energizes you?  You can still participate in the fun while increasing your heart rate and get those endorphins flowing.  Again, listen to your body and avoid any high-impact movements or jumping.

  • Indoor cycling

Indoor cycling is a great exercise and it allows you to pedal at your own pace without risking a fall or putting additional pressure on your ankles and knees.  If you have been cycling prior to your pregnancy you should be fine – make sure you have your doctor’s ok and that you do not push yourself to the point of exhaustion.

  • High-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT)

HIIT is definitely not for every expecting mother.  If you have been a HIIT lover for a long period of time and have approval from your OBGYN – you may continue with caution.  Avoid jumping and any jarring movements.  Check with your instructor on what modifications would be best for you.

  • Outdoor sports

Now is not the time to take on any new sport.  If you are an experienced athlete and you have approval from your doctor – some outdoor sports may be okay to continue with. 

To give you an idea of what may be approved by your doctor, here is a list of options in regards to outdoor sports.

  1. Hiking: Make sure you plan a hike that is on level terrain.
  2. Biking: Even if you are an avid outdoor cycler – be sure to talk to your doctor first before you head out on your bike. 
  3. Ice skating, horseback riding, and in-line skating: You may be able to continue these activities during the early months of your pregnancy.  Always get your OBGYN’s approval first


You may want to stay flexible while also maintaining and building your muscles.  See the list below for the best strengthening exercises to do while you’re pregnant.  Remember, get these activities cleared with your doctor beforehand.

  • Weightlifting

With weightlifting, you should use a lower weight and increase your reps (somewhere between 12 to 15 in a set).  Remember to stretch.  Take advantage of your gym’s machines.  You may reduce your chance of injury on a machine rather than lifting free weights.

  • Pilates

Pilates is a great option.  It is low- to no-impact and may ease your back pain and improve your posture along with your flexibility.  Continuing with your pilates class while you are pregnant may also be beneficial to you when it comes time to deliver.  See if they have a pilates class that is tailored to expectant mothers.

  • Barre

Barre classes will help strengthen your lower body and core. You will find amazing benefits from keeping a strong core and maintaining your lower body strength during your pregnancy.  Be sure to consult with the instructor to see if there are any modifications they recommend for pregnant women.

  • Yoga

Yoga is super beneficial for moms-to-be.  Look for a class specifically tailored to pregnant women.  Yoga encourages relaxation, flexibility, focus, and deep breathing – all of which will be a good practice to take with you to the delivery room.  Side note, avoid hot yoga – it is not recommended to get overheated during your pregnancy.

  • Tai Chi  

If you are comfortable with Tai Chi you may want to find out if there are any specific classes geared towards those that are pregnant.  If you are new to Tai Chi, you may find it to be an exercise worth trying.  Tai Chi is a series of gentle physical exercises and stretches. Often described as meditation in motion – connecting the mind and body.

Tips To Safely Workout During Pregnancy

  • Start Slow
  • Stay Hydrated
  • Do Not Go Overboard
  • Keep Your Core Body Temperature Below 102.2 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Stretch – Before & After Exercising
  • Listen To Your Body
  • Always Consult With Your OBGYN Prior To Any Exercise



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