pregnant woman standing in a pool

The best pregnancy exercises

As your pregnancy progresses, you become limited in your exercise possibilities, but getting consistent exercise is incredibly important for your and Baby’s wellbeing. Exercise strengthens your heart to pump all that extra blood around and keep your body going strong. Exercise can also improve mood, help you sleep better, and strengthen your body for childbirth.

What are the best exercises I can do?

Depending on your pre-pregnancy activity levels, you should consult your healthcare provider to see what intensity exercise regimen is best for you and Baby. If your provider approves, these are some great forms of moderate intensity exercise that will keep you and Baby healthy while pregnant:

  • Walking: Walking at a slow to brisk pace is effective and safe. You can do this all throughout your nine months of pregnancy too. Find your favorite path or place to walk and get to it!
  • Swimming: Possibly the best form of exercise for pregnant women, swimming works out all of your muscles and strengthens your heart. Swimming is safe, effective, and fun.
  • Aerobics: Low impact aerobics are a great way to keep tone and get your cardio training. Many gyms offer special aerobics classes for pregnant women; these can be a great way to stay fit and meet some other moms-to-be to be. Just make sure you don’t do unsafe movements!
  • Dancing: Dancing is a fun way to stay fit, and you can do it easily in the comfort of your home - just find a good dance DVD or make a fun playlist! However, unless you’re an expert, you should avoid routines with jumps, spins, or other unsafe movements.
  • Yoga or stretching: Yoga or other stretching routines improve flexibility and balance, and are a great supplement to your cardio workouts. You can get resistance bands to help bring your stretching routine to the next level.
  • Weight training: Training using limited weight during pregnancy will help you keep toned, and strengthen your body for childbirth! You should never begin an exercise routine that you hadn't done before pregnancy, so make sure you speak with your healthcare provider.
  • Kegels: Kegels are excellent for building the pelvic floor, which can help prevent urinary incontinence.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • B Sternfeld, CP Quesenberry Jr, B Eskenazi, LA Newman. "Exercise during pregnancy and pregnancy outcome." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 27(5):634-40. Web. May-95.
  • Committee on Obstetric Practice. "Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: Committee Opinion Number 267." ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1/2/2015. Web.
  • "Slide show: Pregnancy exercises." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web.
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