Can You Workout While Pregnant?

Many expectant mothers worry about whether it is safe to workout while pregnant. The good news is that, in most cases, it is perfectly fine to keep up with your workout routine during pregnancy. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy can come with many benefits for both the mother and the baby. It can help reduce back pain, improve energy, and help to promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Exercise can also help keep the muscles strong and flexible, preparing the body for labor and delivery. Furthermore, research has shown that regular exercise during pregnancy can also help with postpartum recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of exercise during pregnancy.

Improved Sleep

Maintaining a regular exercise routine during pregnancy can provide numerous benefits, ranging from improved sleep to enhanced labor and delivery outcomes. Improved sleep is one of the most widely documented benefits, and research indicates that pregnant women who exercise regularly report less difficulty sleeping and longer periods of uninterrupted sleep when compared to those who do not exercise. Regular moderate-intensity physical activity during pregnancy can also help prevent excessive gestational weight gain, reduce leg discomfort, improve overall mood and reduce stress and anxiety levels. Exercise can additionally help prepare pregnant women physically, mentally, and emotionally for childbirth. By providing an overall sense of wellbeing as well as improved strength and endurance, successfully completing a regular exercise program in pregnancy may increase self-hopefulness for labour through an improved sense of control.

Reduced Stress

Exercise has numerous benefits for pregnant women. Regular physical activity is known to have a positive impact on mental health, helping to reduce stress and combat depression. Research shows this extends to pregnancy as well — a study of pregnant women in Denmark reported that those who performed light or moderate exercise had lower levels of perceived stress compared with women who didn’t exercise at all. This effect appears to be associated with increased levels of endorphins, the hormones that are released during physical activity and give us a feeling of happiness and wellbeing. Performing regular exercises can help reduce stress levels throughout the course of your pregnancy and beyond!

Improved Mood

The effects of exercise during pregnancy can go beyond physical benefits and contribute to improved mental health and well-being. Studies have found evidence that regular physical activity throughout pregnancy may decrease certain discomforts, such as nausea, fatigue, depression, backache and stress. Exercise also increases your endorphin levels and provides you with an energizing mood boost. Benefits include improved sleeping patterns which will help you to feel more rested throughout your pregnancy. Not only can these changes help you better cope with being pregnant, but studies show a brighter outlook on life during the last trimester of pregnancy for those women who exercised compared to those who didn’t.

Reduced Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman’s body produces excess amounts of blood sugar while she is pregnant. This can have potentially serious impacts on the health of both mother and baby as it increases the risk for medical complications, including high blood pressure or preeclampsia for the mother, as well as premature birth and macrosomia (excessive body weight) in newborns.

Studies have shown that exercise during pregnancy can help reduce the chances of developing gestational diabetes, as well as lower the severity if it does develop, with those who exercised moderately throughout their pregnancies having up to 47% higher success rates than those who did not. Exercise before and after pregnancy may also offer protection against gestational diabetes due to its positive effects on glucose metabolism and inflammation.

Types of Exercise During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when women should take extra care to ensure the health of both themselves and their baby. Exercise can help keep you healthy throughout your pregnancy and can even help with childbirth. However, there are certain types of exercise that are more suitable during pregnancy. Let’s look at some of the best exercises to do while pregnant.

Low Impact Cardio

Low impact cardio activities are generally considered the best exercise choice for pregnant women because it helps you to remain active and in shape without putting too much strain on your body. Examples of low impact cardio activities that are safe to do while pregnant include brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, water aerobics, indoor cycling, and low-impact aerobics classes. Low impact aerobics classes may require modifications that a trained instructor will be aware of, so they can be kept safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for optimum health. This may include different exercises and activities on different days or an activity done for a continuous length of time.

Strength Training

Strength training during pregnancy is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy. It can help you feel stronger and more energized, manage symptoms of depression and anxiety, build healthy muscles which can assist in labor and delivery, and many other benefits. Regular strength training exercises will also help regulate your blood sugar levels and maintain good posture to reduce back pain common during pregnancy.

Strength training exercises should focus on the major muscle groups including your chest, arms, legs, and back. Popular strength trainings include squats, lat pull down (using bands or free weights), deadlifts seated cable rows, push ups (on the knees is ok), dumbbell rows and tricep kickbacks. When selecting weight amounts for specific exercises maneuver at a weight you feel comfortable with – modifying with different options to increase or decrease difficulty based on ability or fatigue levels. Take regular breaks in between sets if necessary as your body may tire more quickly during this time. It’s recommended to utilize a trainer as they have experience creating safe programs specifically for pregnant women that are appropriate for each individual’s physical capabilities throughout different stages of pregnancy.


Yoga and stretching are ideal for pregnant women as it can help build strength and balance. During pregnancy, focus on postures that support the pelvic region, such as wide leg squats, low lunges, gentle side twists and standing poses. It is best to avoid deep forward bends and exercises that require lying flat on your back. This may reduce the flow of blood to your pelvis and uterus. Breathing exercises can also be beneficial during yoga or stretching sessions, as they can help you relax and manage stress levels during pregnancy. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing while practicing yoga or stretching, such as stretchable pants with an elastic band at the waistline that allows room for expansion of your belly. It is advisable to practice these activities under close supervision of a certified yoga instructor so that any modifications can be done in accordance with specific stages of pregnancy.

Safety Precautions

Exercising while pregnant can be beneficial for both the baby and the mother, but it is important to take safety precautions during your pregnancy so that you and your baby remain healthy. Exercise, if done correctly, can help to reduce back pain, prevent gestational diabetes, and control weight. It’s important to consult with your doctor about any exercise routine to make sure it is safe for your baby.

Listen to Your Body

It is important to listen to your body and adjust your workout routine accordingly while you are pregnant. Feeling weak, dizzy, or lightheaded can be a sign of over-exertion. Many women even find that their normal post-workout discomfort will increase and become more severe, so it’s important to scale back if needed. Additionally, it is essential to stay hydrated and eat regularly before, during, and after exercising. Before beginning any exercise regimen during pregnancy, consult your doctor about the risks for you and your baby based on medical history or any changes in physical condition that occur during the course of pregnancy.

Your exercise routine should also be tailored to accommodate your changing body throughout pregnancy; what worked for you at the start of pregnancy may not be beneficial towards the end when increased weightbearing changes pelvic ligaments or abdominal muscles due to hormone-driven laxity. Low impact activities such as swimming, walking, stationary cycling, yoga or Pilates are highly recommended as they maintain endurance without putting excessive stress on your joints; this is especially important when carrying multiples! Lastly, maternal cardiovascular health should always take priority over strength training goals during pregnancy: allowances need to be made once babies get bigger as they can compress veins in the pelvic region which can lead to decreased blood flow back up to mom’s heart.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is an important safety precaution when exercising during pregnancy. It can be easy to become dehydrated due to the extra effort your body is making to keep up with a routine while pregnant. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramping and headaches. Make sure you’re taking in enough water by getting into the habit of drinking plenty throughout the day, as well as at least one glass before and after you exercise. Additionally, if you are participating in activities that make you sweat a lot, such as running or strength training, it is important to understand how much fluid has been lost through perspiration and adjust your water intake accordingly.

Avoid Intense Heat

When exercising while pregnant, it is important to avoid intense heat and humidity. Your core temperature becomes elevated more quickly when pregnant so extreme temperatures can increase the risk of overheating or dehydration. Be sure to stay in an environment that is well-ventilated, drink plenty of fluids and wear light, breathable clothing. If necessary for winter months, you may wear light insulation pieces to stay warm without creating too much extra heat. Additionally, refrain from leaving any heating pad over your abdomen as this can also raise body temperature. Taking regular breaks from strenuous activity or high temperatures will give your body a chance to adjust and rest.

Avoid Contact Sports

It is important to protect yourself and your baby from harm when exercising during pregnancy. Contact sports, such as soccer or basketball, should be avoided due to the risk of falls or accidents which can be dangerous for your unborn baby. Instead, focus on non-contact activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, stretching and low-impact aerobics. If you are currently practicing any contact sports or any form of exercise with a high risk of injury, it is recommended that you stop prior to beginning a pregnancy workout program. If certain contact sport activities have become part of your life style prior to your pregnancy, discuss a modified exercise routine with your doctor that would eliminate the danger associated with certain risky movements or accidents.

Potential Risks

Working out during pregnancy can be beneficial for both mom and baby, however, there are a few risks that should be considered before engaging in any type of physical activity. Risks can include a risk of preterm labor, dehydration, and over exertion. It is important to discuss any concerns with a doctor to ensure that the mother and unborn baby remain safe.

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor is one of the serious risks associated with working out while pregnant. Preterm labor is defined as labor that begins before the 37th week of gestation. It increases the chances for a baby to be born prematurely and can have short-term and long-term health effects, including increased risk of developmental disabilities and lower immune function.

Women who experience preterm labor tend to have frequent contractions, pain in their lower back or abdomen, abdominal cramps, and an increased need to urinate more often than usual. If any of these symptoms occur while you are exercising during pregnancy, it is important for you to contact your doctor as soon as possible for further evaluation.

Your doctor may recommend that you take a series of tests if they suspect preterm labor or if you are having difficulty managing your symptoms during exercise. Other ways to reduce your risk for preterm labor include managing stress levels and getting adequate rest throughout your pregnancy so that the body stays healthy and well rested during exercise. Additionally, women should talk with their doctors about any underlying medical conditions they may have before beginning any form of physical activity during pregnancy.This will help ensure that the activity is safe for both mother and baby.

Low Birth Weight

Exercising during pregnancy has many potential benefits, however, it is important to consider potential risks associated with working out during pregnancy. One risk that new mothers and their healthcare providers need to be aware of is the potential for low birth weight in a newborn. This is usually defined as a baby weighing less than 5.5 pounds at birth.

Low birth weight can be caused by a number of factors and is not necessarily due to exercise alone; however, too much exercise or exercising at an intensity that’s too high can contribute to this problem. This can occur if the mother does not get enough rest or does not consume enough calories and nutrition to sustain herself and supply all the necessary nutrients for fetal growth and development. Women should ensure that they are consuming enough calories each day (around 300-400 extra) as well as taking necessary prenatal vitamins throughout their pregnancy.

Additionally, it is important for pregnant women to monitor themselves for signs of fatigue or overexertion when exercising; once these symptoms arrive, it’s time for a break! Listening to the body’s needs during exercise is paramount in preventing any potential issues that may arise from overdoing it while pregnant. By staying within moderate intensity while exercising, pregnant women can avoid dangerous health risks while still receiving the many benefits that come with physical activity throughout pregnancy.

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption is an uncommon and potentially serious complication of pregnancy in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth. This condition can disrupt the flow of nutrients to the fetus, resulting in serious complications, including fetal death. Risk factors for placental abruption include a previous abruption, high blood pressure, increased maternal age, and smoking. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, back pain, uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding and shock. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are extremely important for both mother and baby’s health. Treatment typically involves monitoring fetal health until delivery or emergency cesarean section if necessary.


Ultimately, all women have the autonomy to determine, in conjunction with their medical providers, what’s best for their bodies while they’re pregnant. Depending on a woman’s existing fitness level and how her body responds to pregnancy, it’s likely safe for expectant mothers to engage in light-to-moderate levels of exercise. However, women should consult their health care provider before starting any kind of physical activity and be mindful of the signals their body is sending them – if something feels too strenuous or uncomfortable then it should be stopped. Therefore, it is important to speak with your doctor first if you’re considering exercising while pregnant — they can help create a personalized plan that takes into account any individual factors and provide tips on how to stay safe.

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