Best Exercises During Pregnancy: Safe Pregnancy Workouts

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Having a baby is an experience of a lifetime. During this period your body goes through a lot of changes, which affect the mind and body.

That’s why it is really important that first-time mothers receive meaningful guidance and becomes aware of the hardships that will come during the nine months.

As time passes after conceiving the baby,  it becomes tougher to move around the house.  But you must maintain healthy routine exercise, which will help you relax your muscles, increase blood flow, relieve stress also benefit your baby.

In this article, we have managed all the necessary information regarding exercises during pregnancy. Let’s begin.

According to experts physical exercise during pregnancy is safe absolutely safe and even beneficial to you and your baby.

But you have to be disciplined and read up on it as much as you can. Also a detailed discussion with your doctor is a must.


Exercise helps your body release muscle tension, increase blood flow. A good routine will help you increase your pelvic strength for when the time comes, you can have your baby with ease and minimize postnatal injuries and ailments.

Also, this governmental paper also recommends exercise during pregnancy. As it could help in appropriate maternal and fetal weight gains.

It may also help in managing gestational diabetes.

How much exercise is healthy during pregnancy?

This is an interesting topic since you will get different opinions based on where you ask. But a general guideline always exists.

You can not have the same amount of exercise as normal times. You have to be careful while performing the routines. Any sign of unusual discomfort should be taken into account. 

This government website also mentiones a number of points regarding the maintenance of exercise regimen during the pregnancy.

Here is a list of activities you should avoid during pregnancy

  • Any exercise that involves holding breath.
  • Any exercise that can cause abdominal trauma.
  • Kickboxing or Boxing
  • Sports like Football, Soccer, Basketball or Volley, etc where extensive physical endurance is needed
  • Hiking
  • Lying flat for more than 30 mins, especially after 4 months into pregnancy.
  • Any open high-altitude activities like skydiving or hang gliding. (Bungy Jumping is also a big no-no, don’t get your hopes up!)
  • Full sit-ups, or Full squats. Bouncing

Best Exercises During Pregnancy

Now the important part. Read this part carefully. Here is the complete list of exercises you could perform during pregnancy with all the necessary details you need to know.

  • Stretching

    During pregnancy, stretching is the most common form of exercise that is performed by the majority of would-be mothers around the world.

    It is common knowledge everywhere. Here are some helpful stretching techniques, listed according to all the trimesters.

    1. First trimester
      • Pelvic Curl
      • Knee Push UP
    2. Second trimester
      • Incline Push-ups
      • Hip Flex
      • Leg lifts
      • Mermaid Stretch
    3. Third trimester
      • Wall Sits
      • Reverse Lunges
      • Calf Raises
  • Stair Climbing

    This is also a fairly common routine you can do anytime during all the trimesters. It works as non-expensive and mild cardio. Just walk up and down the stairs couple of times every day two times. You can perform the climb with just a step of the stair.
    Be disciplined and keep close to the washroom. Because this can make you have to pee.
  • Walking

    Walking during pregnancy can be a hassle as time passes. But you should
    Maintain a routine of walking daily for 15 mins. If going outside is a problem for you. Then do it inside the house. If you have a treadmill, then no excuses. Just put on a pair of comfy sweatpants plug in the headphone and start walking. Walking regularly helps to keep leg muscle strength in check. It also decreases the possibility of postpartum problems.

  • Jogging

    If you are a regular runner. Then it can be a problem for you. Because running with a baby in your womb can be harmful to the baby. At early stages, it can result in miscarriage, and in later stages, the fetal position of the baby can be disturbed, which can cause a lot of trouble during the delivery.

  • Swimming

    Swimming is the safest and fairly common activity recommended by gynecologists. Swimming during pregnancy is safe because the buoyancy of water help to relieve the strain in the abdominal muscle. Basically, you and your baby inside can float together. The slow and swift movement during swimming helps your body to remain steady and keep muscle strength in check.

  • Yoga

    Yoga is a world-renowned form of physical exercise which has several beneficial effects on the body if performed right.

    Recent researches show that well-coached students of yoga can continue several of the poses till the second trimester.

    Yoga and Stretching are similar in many ways. But yoga utilizes flexibility to relieve muscles, whereas normal stretching is simple repeating muscle movements.

  • Yoga Poses that could be done

    • Warrior pose- watch here
    • Side angle- watch here
    • Wide-legged forward fold- watch here
    • Cat pose- watch here
    • Cow pose- watch here
    • Bird dog- watch here

  • Poses to avoid

    • Twisted Chair
    • Wide-legged Chair
    • Upward facing/Downward facing dog
    • Full wheels

Keep in mind you should not start yoga for the first time yoga after conceiving. If your body lacks flexibility then stick to stretching.

Because attempting to perform the poses can cause muscle strain, which will nerve-wracking during pregnancy.

  • Pilates

    Prenatal Pilates is also a healthy alternative to Yoga. If you are well acquainted with Pilates then you can continue after and during pregnancy. Doing Pilates increases your pelvic and abdominal strength. Here are some helpful Pilates routine you can perform
    • Pelvic Muscle movements
    • Pelvic Tilts
    • Thigh Stretch
    • Thigh lifting
  • Tai chi

    Tai chi is a traditional Chinese practice. Here the connection between mind and body is exercised with a different kind of physical stretching.

    The inner energy of every living being according to Chinese texts is called Chi. The Chi flows through our bodies and connects us to the so-called spiritual energy inside us. According to the Chi-gurus around the worlds teach millions of learner to perform this beautiful art form.

    As a young mother, you can join Tai chi classes during pregnancy. It is simple and easy to learn. It doesn’t require a lot of physical strength.

Be Cautious During Pregnancy Exercises

Tail-tale signs of your body asking you to quit the routine and the pitfalls you should avoid during prenatal exercise.
There are certain aspects of exercise during pregnancy that you have to always stay clear off.

  • Anything too much is bad- Overdoing exercise routines can put pressure on the body, which can affect your sleep cycle, digestion, put a strain on the muscle.
  • Any sign of discomfort- During performing if you feel that your thighs are cramping up. Do not push it. Stop then and there. Discuss this with your doctor and your physical instructor.
  • Jumping into new poses- Learning and Practicing new poses during pregnancy is not recommended. It is equivalent to overdoing the exercise. It put extra pressure on you and your baby.

Clinical conditions that may prohibit exercise during pregnancy

Though you should exercise during pregnancy, there are some medical conditions where you can not perform the exercise. Because then it is harmful to you and your baby.
Here are some expert-advised conditions that prohibit the physical prenatal exercise

  • breathing difficulties
  • heart condition
  • incompetent cervix cerclage
  • Bleeding from vagina
  • having twins or triplets
  • Placenta Previa
  • Pregnancy-related blood pressure
  • If you are having chest pain after or during exercise

Tips for safe exercise and improvement

Here are some tips for you to keep in mind for healthily doing exercise and improving upon it.

  • Wear comfortable clothes like loose sweats, palazzo, pajamas
  • Keep your bump open if possible, so it can release heat or avoid getting pressed by clothes during the routine
  • Perform in a well-ventilated area
  • Perform in a cool area if possible. Extra sweating and high temperature is not safe for either you or your child ( It is a no-brainer)

Final Takeaways On Best Exercises During Pregnancy

  • You should exercise during pregnancy
  • First, consult with your doctor
  • Get all necessary tests done beforehand
  • Don’t overdo it.
  • Do not put extra pressure on your body by performing physically demanding poses
  • Always stay cautious about your body
  • Report to your doctor or physical exercise couch about any pain and uneasiness.

Having said all that, you should not forget to keep your nutrition intake to the required limit. You can also take help from the post-workout foods; on the other hand, you should also be aware of the list of foods one should avoid during pregnancy.

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