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Happy Pregnancy

Recommended Workout During Pregnancy - Everything Explained

by Alex Yu 23 Nov 2021

A slow metabolism can affect your health as a mum-to-be, leading to complications, which is why a recommended pregnancy workout is a must to implement. But a pregnancy workout? It seems like an impossible notion as women are generally advised to take plenty of rest when they are pregnant.

Nutritious food, stress-free life, and better medication are all that many consider being enough. However, just like strenuous gymnastics are a particularly unfit exertion during pregnancy, lack of exercise and movement is also unsuitable.

Explore ahead about the best pregnancy workout routine you can try each trimester, to be fit and safe throughout your beautiful journey.

The Importance of Exercising While Pregnant

Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes to your body as a baby starts developing inside you. You undergo a string of physical and mental changes and have to adapt to a new routine. A little bit of physical activity with a properly drafted pregnancy workout plan can help you get along better and feel great. Here are the benefits of exercising:

  1. Avoids adding extra weight- When you’re pregnant you crave all kinds of food! This can lead to weight gain especially if you crave fatty foods and carbs. So, you need to be active to assimilate it well and avoid gaining excess weight. 
  2. Eases out the body pains- Back pain, sciatica pain, throbbing legs, and burdened shoulders are natural as your baby grows, and your belly increases gradually. The exercises can avoid those muscles getting stiff and prevent you from developing posture complications throughout your maternity period.
  3. Makes labor easier- A carefully recommended pregnancy workout can help induce labor quickly and naturally. It reduces pain and stimulates the uterus to adjust for easy movements. It can also reduce the chances of a C-section birth.
  4. An active metabolism staves of gastrointestinal issues- With such massive changes throughout the maternity period, you can develop constipation, gastric and digestive issues if you don't take note of your health. Gestational diabetes or Rh incompatibility can also affect the baby's development. 
  5. Helps fight mood swings- Depression, insomnia, anxiety, and frantic mood swings are common for many moms-to-be. Exercising with a suitable pregnancy workout plan can help elevate mood, reduce stress and anxiety.

Whose Assistance Can You Take?

A pregnancy workout routine is completely different from general body training in everyday life. Proper intensity, reduced duration, and modified moves are essential to avoid unwarranted risks. If you are beginning to do the exercises, you should have an expert's guidance to help you out. Instead of clueless trials at home, you can approach one among the following.

1. Gym trainers

workout personal trainer

For using strength and weight training equipment, consult a professional trainer by explaining your requirements. They can help choose proper weights and cardio machines according to your body. You can use the correct equipment without adjustments if you approach a gym.

2. Yoga classes 

yoga class

If you have been recommended a less intense pregnancy workout plan by your doctor, you can register for specialized yoga classes for body strengthening and stress-relieving sessions. You shouldn't do any complicated positions but stick to the restorative version of the yoga postures.

3. Guided tutorial videos

pregnancy workout video tutorial

You can also subscribe to online sessions or buy video tutorials. Make sure to follow all instructions without modifications and immediately stop if you feel uncomfortable. You can also consult your doctor before beginning a workout by yourself.

4. Join a community

join community

If your area has a public community or group that supports pregnant ladies' health, you can register with them for therapy and workout sessions. They usually appoint pregnancy personal trainers and host group activities to keep the mood cheerful.

The best workout accessories to invest in

While your workout needn't be tedious it has to be effective. You can invest in some of the best accessories to help you exercise comfortably. These accessories are affordable and help in various workouts as your recommended pregnancy workout plan changes with each trimester. 

1. Yoga mats

yoga mats

These should be made from soft, foamy material, and have friction to avoid slipping. The best ones are 5 mm to 8 mm thick and absorb all the pressure. They are a must for breathing exercises, meditation, and light yoga exercises. 

2. Rollers and resistance bands

pregnancy workout resistance band

These help you avoid undue pressure and help perform exercises as required. You can choose yellow or red-colored bands as they have the lowest resistance. Rollers should be soft, compressible, and long enough to cover your back and shoulders.

3. Exercise balls

exercise balls

Balls of different sizes are best for back and leg exercises. You should pick up the balls of size big enough to comfortably sit on them. You can also find birthing balls specially designed for maternity that even help induce labor naturally.

4. Fitbit watches 


The watches and connected mobile apps count steps, track the body vitals and monitor the exercise rates and levels. In some apps, you can also feed your pregnancy workout routine to help you notify the limits. 

5. Light-weight dumbbell sets

pregnancy dumbbell sets

Since heavy lifting is not advisable, the dumbbells should be less than 10 pounds. The lightest weights are from 2-6 pounds which are best for basic strength training. 

Best pregnancy workout plan for a safe journey

Since every mother's body and baby's development differs, it is highly essential to consult an obstetrician to ensure if exercise is safe for you. If you have significant complications or require bed rest, it is better to avoid any activity. If not, you can refer to this recommended pregnancy workout routine to get a basic idea.

First trimester

The intensity of the workout depends on your general activity level. If you are a gym enthusiast, you can still engage in some of the same exercises during the initial days. But if you are not an exercise fan, you can start with short walks.

1. Full-body exercises 

pregnancy full body workout

These moves use multiple limbs together and include push-ups, aerobics, burpees, or lunges. If you aren't used to these intense moves, try the modified versions under guidance. Make sure to avoid HIIT sessions, tedious weight training, and power yoga classes.

2. Strength training moves

 pregnancy strength training

You can consider upper body exercises with resistance bands or dumbbells to maintain synchronization with your lower body. Focus on various squats like goblet, sumo, or thruster squats to strengthen your pelvic region. 

You can do planks, bridges, and kegel exercises to prepare your back. Core strengthening is also essential in the first trimester, for which you can choose twists, crunches, and leg lifts.

3. Basic cardio

pregnancy jogging

Cardio improves metabolism, helps cope with the bodily changes in the first trimester due to the onset of pregnancy. You can try gym exercises like stationary biking, slow jogging, brisk walking, or even swimming if you are athletic. Don't try hectic and sweaty moves which can put your health at risk. 

4. Zumba or aerobics

 pregnancy dancing

If you want enjoyment along with exercise, introducing music or working with a group can enlighten your mood. Zumba, aerobics, and general dance classes for about one hour are now suitable since your fetus hasn't developed yet. 

Second trimester

Since the baby now develops physically, the weight of your belly can lead to body pains and internal irritations. Your second-trimester exercises should focus on relieving your aches and keeping your metabolism high. You shouldn't perform those exercises that are too complicated to move and which directly impact your core.

1. Leg exercises


Lunges, resistance band stretching, glutes and hamstring stretch, and leg lifts can help reduce lower back pain and strengthen the pelvic base. You can also opt for step-ups, walking, or jogging in intervals. Different yoga exercises also benefit the lower back and legs but make sure you aren't stressing the core muscles at all.

2. Exercises with balls

pregnancy exercise with ball

Use exercise or birthing balls as support for back exercises and upper body workouts. Your second trimester can have modified squats using the chairs or even bouncing on the balls. 

You can also sit on it and perform shoulder, biceps, and neck exercises using dumbbells or bands. Balls are best for upgraded leg stretching and kegel lifts without exerting the entire effort.

3. Back exercises on a mat 

pregnancy back exercise mat

You can lie back or sideways on the mat (use rollers for comfort) and perform hand and leg exercises and crunches using bands. Limit your reps to 10-12 and frequently change your position to sides and on knees.

While doing any back exercises, switch them with side variations to use all the muscles while relaxing the back. You can also perform small bridges and pelvic lifts. Easy ab exercises like bird dog are also preferred. 

4. Cardio

If you feel active and have no strict movement restrictions, cardio can also support you well in the second trimester. Continue the workouts every day but just make sure to reduce the pace without puffing-panting and take breaks in between.

You can walk, jog, swim slowly, or perform step-ups using boxes and stairs. You can also try dancing or stationary exercises like mountain climbers and bicycles while lying down.

Third trimester

Since this is the last phase, you should be careful not to stress yourself or the baby. Many doctors completely restrict physical movements and lifting weights to avoid premature deliveries.

The exercises now focus on easing out the pelvic region to support natural labor. It can also help relieve the pain and align your uterus and body for the proper passage during delivery. 

1. Upper body exercises

Since your body weight shouldn't exert the core and pelvis, try upper body, shoulder, and neck exercises. You can sit on the mat or ball and perform twists and stretches. You can do bicep curls, shoulder pinches, neck and hand stretching exercises as you did in the first or second trimester. If you are trying leg exercises, do half modifications using chair, wall, or ball support.

2. Birthing ball movements 

Kegel exercises and birthing ball movements are essential to prepare the pelvis, ease out the stiffened muscles and relax the lower back for easy labor. You don't have to bend and twist using your body weight, but use the birthing ball for all modified exercises. 

Hip circles and bouncing squats are the best among all, absolutely recommended in every pregnancy workout plan. You can lie back on the mat and lift your legs vertically with the support of a wall or the ball to perform a leg lift.

You can also try face-down kneeling and bending stretches by putting your legs on the ball and hands on the ground. Take help from anyone else if you feel it is too hard. 

3. Take and walk or meditate 

pregnancy meditate

The third trimester is one of the testing phases with increased anxiety and tension. Even while you are doing the labor-inducing exercises, you also need to keep a balance with your mental relaxation. A small stroll in fresh air or simple meditation can help you relax. 

Helpful Tips For Pregnancy Workout Routine 

  1. Plan your routine for the entire week with rest and workout days in combination. Mix and match exercises to avoid boredom. If you feel uncomfortable with any move, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
  2. Throughout your pregnancy workout plan, include meditation and breathing exercises to relax and rejuvenate yourself. You can even do these if you are restricted from other activities.
  3. Whatever exercises you perform, make sure to restrict your duration to not more than an hour and take proper breaks in between.
  4. Warm-up, cooldown, and sufficient hydration are essential in your pregnancy workout routine to synchronize your body.
  5. Above all, don't go off the recommended limits and never compare with anyone around you. Your plan is according to your status, and you should strictly follow it.
  6. Always wear comfortable clothes and set your pace according to your mood. If you are feeling down any day, it is better to switch for a stroll or just take a rest that day!

Final Words

Pregnancy is not the same for any two women. Different body natures and fetal development need distinct attention. Though heavy physical stress is unsuitable, a recommended pregnancy workout is essential to maintain the body's metabolism and boost active growth.

An obstetrician's consultancy, pregnancy trainers' guidance, and a proper pregnancy workout routine are necessary for every trimester throughout the maternity period. Though many general plans are available on the internet, it is always best to chart a personal guided plan with proper monitoring.

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