Exercising During Pregnancy- Which Are The Recommended Exercises To Do?

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Jun 20, 2014 | Last Updated: Dec 24, 2018

Pregnancy Exercises

In pregnancy, your doctor may suggest that you exercise often. Exercising during pregnancy can help with labor, ease contractions, and provide comfort to notorious sensations during pregnancy. There are many different exercises to do while you are pregnant but certain ones you should not do.

If, for some reason, that you cannot exercise during pregnancy, your doctor will let you know. Some reasons to not exercise during pregnancy would be a high-risk pregnancy. For example, women who are candidates for pre-term delivery or those who have low-lying placenta should be more careful throughout the pregnancy period. Strenuous physical activities in this case should be restricted and rather, your doctor puts you on partial or modified bed rest.

Why Should Women Exercise During Pregnancy?

Active lifestyle promotes healthy pregnancy. Exercise is not only beneficial for the mother but also for the baby. Low-impact workout can help reduce some pain during childbirth. When you pant during exercise, it helps the baby’s lungs to suck in more fresh air and develop. Furthermore, exercise helps you to feel better and some women have even said it makes it easier to fit into your favorite dress after childbirth. These are only some of the great reasons as to why exercising during pregnancy is salubrious.

What are The Recommended Exercises During Pregnancy?

1. Kegel: Kegel exercises are done by contracting the muscles repeatedly as if you are trying to stop a stream of urine. By doing this, it helps strengthen the pelvic floor. The pelvic muscles grow weaker during pregnancy and childbirth, and hence, it is through this exercise they maintain their strength in muscle control.

Kegel Exercises

2. Walking: Walking is good for you whether you are pregnant or not. Walking is one of the best forms of exercises. It is easy, free, healthy, effective and socializing. It is something you can do all the time. For pregnant women, walking (specifically brisk walking) is highly recommended of an exercise because it is low-impact. Walking is not a difficult exercise and will not cause much discomfort.


3. Swimming: Swimming is a great exercise during pregnancy for a good number of reasons. Swimming helps increase uptake of oxygen, it has cardiovascular benefits, improves muscle strength and helps maintain a healthy weight. Swimming is also a relaxing and socializing activity.


4. Bicycling: While most people don’t realize this, but bicycling while pregnant is fine in moderation. Physical activities like bicycling can help mothers deal with insomnia. But, one important caveat is to slow down on a little bit. Make sure to wear proper pregnancy gears when doing bicycling.


5. Running/Jogging: Running or jogging is an easy exercise. Whether performed at home or outdoors, running and jogging help in improving your overall bodily functions especially the heart and lungs.


6. Yoga: The exercise of yoga helps to keep you limber and impacts your joints. Not only does it help your body but it also improves your breathing during labor. It should be noted however that not all yoga poses are safe to pregnant mothers. Start with low-impact type of yoga. Bikram yoga is strongly not recommended for expectant mothers.


7. Staircase Climbing: Climbing stairs is a good exercise for pregnant mothers. It does not affect pregnancy negatively unless the mother becomes very breathless. Climb one step at a time and take breaks when needed. Stair climbing targets the cardiovascular system by raising your heart beat which is good for both the mother and the baby.

Staircase Climbing

8. Dance: Who doesn’t love to dance? The best part is you can put some hip music on for you and baby. Dancing is fun and helps with many things. However, you need to avoid jumping or spinning.


9. Aerobics: Aerobic exercise refers to any low-impact exercise targeting the heart. Because you are pregnant, you will want to keep it slow. Do not overdo it, as with any exercise. A reminder for pregnant mothers is to steer clear of high kicks or leaps.


10. Stomach Strengthening Exercises: Stomach strengthening exercises during pregnancy can actually help with back pain, and recovery from labor will be easier. Some exercises that pregnant women can do to help strengthen their lower abdomen are knee folds and roll ups.

Stomach Strengthening Exercises

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Skiing: This is certainly not a sport for expectant mothers. While you may have loved it before pregnancy, you will have to wait nine months to continue. There are so many risks to skiing, especially if pregnant. Skiing accidents and the excitement can possibly push you into early labor.
  • Horseback Riding: Horseback riding can be safely done up until 12 weeks, health experts confirmed. However, once you hit 12 weeks, you need to stop due to the baby’s position.
  • Water Skiing: Water skiing is a high-risk exercise and may result in serious injuries. This type of sports also needs a good balance and with baby growing inside, your balance is going to get a little off.

Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines

These are just some of the reasons that you need to use caution, especially when working out. Your doctor will monitor you and the baby carefully, but tough workouts should not be done during pregnancy. Depending on your history and your current pregnancy, it is important to discuss with your doctor if you can exercise. If so, be sure to find out what specific exercises and do them in moderation.

Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines


  • History of miscarriages
  • High Risk Pregnancy
  • Poor health
  • Expecting twins or more
  • History of premature labor

The bottom line is that there are plenty of workouts that pregnant women can participate in. In fact, exercise has been proven to be good during pregnancy. However, you have to remember that some things you did before, you may not be able to do while pregnant. If you have any concerns about an exercise you are doing, don’t be hesitant to speak with your doctor. No matter what, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. If you are tired, stop. You are pregnant. Wearing your body out is not good for yourself or the baby. Exercising is great for your growing child but only in moderate and acceptable portions.

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