Image of walking workout in pregnancy

You are creating life! That is exhausting enough on its own, but workout in pregnancy can be healthy and helpful for you and your baby. (If you can muster the energy for it!) Exercise tolerance can vary from person to person during pregnancy, so try not to compare yourself to others. Your pregnancy fitness may depend on your activity level before pregnancy and a variety of other factors. Someone who has been working out consistently before pregnancy may tolerate more intensity, while others who have been exercising regularly may suddenly have to stop because the pregnancy is so tiring and draining on them. Always listen to your body, and consult a medical and fitness professional with any questions or concerns.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed exercise specialist or personal trainer. This article is for informational purposes only. This material is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before undertaking a new exercise regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the information given here.

Benefits of Workout in Pregnancy

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits of prenatal exercise. These include:

  • Healthy pregnancy weight
  • Increased strength, endurance, and muscle tone
  • Better quality sleep
  • Increased energy and improved mood
  • Lower incidence of cesarean and preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes

Ask your Doctor

Consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen. There are reasons your doctor may advise you against prenatal exercise, including:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Problems with cervix or placenta
  • Bleeding
  • Complications like multiple pregnancy, preterm labor, anemia, early membrane rupture (the water breaks)

So make sure to follow the advice of your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you to exercise.

Higher Risk Exercises

When you are pregnant, some exercises can be more dangerous than others. Be aware of risks in exercising, like:

  • Risk of impact in contact sports, water skiing, diving, surfing, or kickboxing
  • Risk of falling (skating, horseback riding, skiing, etc)
  • Decompression sickness from scuba diving
  • Hyperthermia, fainting, dizziness, or loose muscles/tendons causing injury during hot yoga or hot pilates

Warning Signs

Listen to your body, and if you see any of these warning signs, then stop exercising, and contact your healthcare provider.

  • Headache, dizziness, chest pain, swelling or pain in the calf
  • Vaginal bleeding, fluid leaking, or gushing
  • Contractions that don’t stop after rest
Image of walking workout in pregnancy

Recommended Workout in Pregnancy

Here are a few activities that are generally considered safe during pregnancy:

  • Water aerobics
  • Prenatal Yoga or Pilates (avoid lying flat on your back or your belly after first trimester)
  • Walking
  • Stationary bike
  • Low-impact aerobics (listen to your body)
  • Strength training (consult your doctor about how much you can lift)
Image of Lateral Raises for Women Strength Training at Home Workout post

Just listen to your body and don’t overdo it. With your doctor’s approval, prenatal exercise can help you and your baby feel your best and be your healthiest!

Reviewed and edited by Benjamin Wong, DPT, CPT, Certified Yoga Instructor, and Fitness Instructor on Jan 17, 2022