Learn the best pregnancy exercises you can do in any trimester!
Although you know exercise is the best thing for you and baby, it sure can be hard to make it happen regularly.
Especially as each trimester presents new challenges.
Morning sickness, downing your prenatal pill twice a day, and the hormonal changes in your body can be hard to endure enough on their own. Exercising can seem like just one more thing to do.
But the benefits of getting frequent exercise during pregnancy are astounding!
Choose the best pregnancy exercises for you and get moving, mama!
Please note: If for any reason you’re on bedrest or have other medical conditions, make sure to consult your doctor before developing an exercise routine.
The Best Pregnancy Exercises to Stay Healthy
Before we look at the exercises, I want to offer some suggestions.
Staying hydrated is super important! It’s simple, yet challenges because a lot of times we don’t feel thirsty. But during exercise, it even more important.
That said, it’s better to drink water at a steady pace throughout the day than to guzzle a 3 glasses all at once.
A great way to stay hydrated is with a BabyBottle. It’s great for pregnant moms as it charts your baby’s growth as you drink!
Wear Good Shoes
Be thankful if you don’t get swollen feet during your pregnancy.
Either way, you’ll want wear comfortable shoes during your exercise. Even during your day to day walks for that matter. It makes a huge difference to have good foot support. It’s one of the best investments you can make!
Take it Easy
Completely avoid doing any exercises that are too intense or strenuous. Especially ones that can cause you to fall.
Sometimes pregnant mothers can begin to experience lightheadedness or faintness just while walking or standing. If you begin to experience this, stop. Exercise is extremely beneficial, but it’s best to not overdo it. Just stick to what you’re comfortable with.
9 Best Pregnancy Exercises
You don’t need any special equipment to do kegels. And they’re pretty convenient too!
You can do them anytime, anywhere!
To start, empty your bladder. Sit or lie down. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Hold tight and then count to 8. Relax your muscles and then count to 10. Repeat this 10 times for a total of 3 times per day.
Note: This is not the same as tightening the muscles of your abdomen. If you’re not familiar with your pelvic muscles, try to stop urinating midstream. Those are the muscles you want to practice contracting and controlling.
Benefits: Strengthens muscles that support bowels, bladder, and your uterus. Kegels help you to develop the ability to relax and support the muscles you’ll be using during childbirth.
Basically, keep moving! Enjoy the benefits of having more energy, less back pain, and a better recovery.
Walking is an excellent way to incorporate movement into your day to day life. Especially if you do a lot of laying and sitting. Get creative and take a walk to the store, or purposely park near the back of the parking lot when you go to the grocery store.
Benefits: Walking (with the help of gravity) aids in bringing your baby down into your pelvis. It’s also good for your blood circulation and strengthens your muscles so you can relieve that vaginal pain you might have.
Lay down on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Lift your knees and straighten your legs. Keep your back and legs straight and don’t allow your tummy to touch the floor.
Hold the position for 1-2 breaths for up to 5 breaths total.
Benefits: Strengthens abs, arms, back, and core.
If exercising is something you dread doing, you might want to consider swimming. It’s fun exercise, mama! Who doesn’t love moving in water. Not just our kids, right?!
If you’ve been a swimmer prior to your pregnancy, talk to your doctor before continuing your regular routine.
If not, find out if your community has a local swimming class specifically for pregnant women.
And make sure you check out this super cute maternity bathing suit for when you go swimming!
Benefits: Increases strength, tones muscles and improves blood circulation. This also improves your cardiovascular health.
Squats can be more challenging. But hey, give it a go if you can!
Stand with your feet wide apart. Squat down slowly as far as you can with your arms out in front of you and gently clenched together. Hold for a couple of seconds and slowly come back up.
Repeat this 5 times.
Benefits: Helps strengthen abdominal muscles as well as alleviate back pain during pregnancy and labor.
6. Bird Dog
The bird dog is super easy and should can be endured by those who don’t enjoy exercising.
Even if you’re very busy, you can squeeze these in right after you wake up, before bed, or a few reps just before a meal. You don’t need any equipment, and this exercise is very safe for you during pregnancy.
Get down on your hands and knees. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg outward. Lower your arm and leg to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Extend your left arm and your right leg. Go steady, not fast.
Make sure to do an equal number of reps on each side to keep your body balanced, mama!
Benefits: Strengthens core muscles, improves posture, reduces lower back pain, and stabilizes and supports the spine. The bird dog also strengthens shoulder muscles.
7. Seated Cable Pull Downs
I would only recommend this exercise if you’ve been exercising frequently prior to your pregnancy. But even then, check with your doctor before starting or continuing your routine.
If you’re just starting out and are easing into your exercising routine, I would skip this exercise.
Also, the goal here is to keep your reps higher (around 15 or 20) than your weights. It’s safer and the better option to keep your weights low during your pregnancy.
Plus, this is usually done at a gym or at a home gym.
Grab the bar (or in some cases, two separate cables). Sit comfortably on the bench. Pull the handle bars down towards the top of your shoulders. Slowly bring the bar back to the starting position and then repeat.
Benefits: strengthens arm and back muscles.
8. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
It’s best to avoid lifting weights while laying on your back after your first 12 weeks of pregnancy. But don’t worry, you can still strengthen your arms and core in other ways, mama!
When using dumbbells for the first time, try a low weight and increase the weight as you are more comfortable and stronger. This set of dumbbells accommodates a new exerciser with varying weights – plus the weights come in cute colors.
Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Start with your arms directly at your side. Now holding a 3-12 lb dumbbell, lift your arm to shoulder length. Keep a straight posture with your shoulders relaxed. Slowly bring your arm back to the starting position.
Repeat for multiple reps.
Benefits: strengthens arm muscles
9. Dumbbell Lunges
If you’re looking to strengthen your legs, this is a great exercise to help you do just that!
To start, stand with your feet about 6 inches apart and your toes pointing forward.
While holding the dumbbells in your hand, step forward with one leg to lower your body to a 90 degree angle.
Push up and come back to the starting position. Make sure to do the same number of reps (10-15) on each leg.
You can either rotate legs one immediately after the other, or you can do all your reps on one leg before moving to the other leg.
Benefits: Core stability and improved balance. Boosts functionality, and tones gluteal muscles.
Tips to Stay Motivated While You Exercise
The way your body changes during pregnancy is so extreme, mama! And although it comes highly recommended and has massive benefits to you and your baby’s health, exercise can still feel burdensome.
It helps to keep yourself motivated along the way!
Here are some tips to help you get and stay on the right track:
- Track your progress – You already have too many things to track. Meals, prenatal vitamin intake, doctor’s appointments, etc. Keeping one log that has at least the majority of these tasks can take pressure off to keep up with it all. Keeping an exercise journal can serve as motivation when you look back to see all the weeks you were persistent. You can also keep track of the exercises you’re doing as well as your reps.
- Stay Hydrated – We always think we’ve had enough water until we start diligently tracking our water intake! Staying hydrated is very important when you’re pregnant. But even more so when you’re exercising. Tracking your water intake throughout the day is a great way to ensure you not only getting enough fluids. But that you’re getting the right fluids. Sipping juice all day isn’t the best way to stay hydrated.
- Remember your “Why?” – Even the most important things our lives can become so routine that we don’t consciously think deeply about why we are doing these things to begin with. Exercise can become like that. Some days you’ll feel motivated to exercise and other days you won’t. It’s a good idea to write down your personal reason for why you’ve chosen to exercise. Rather than telling yourself it’s just to get healthier or to stay in shape, make your goals personal to you. What will make it worth it long term, mama? Look back at your goals often to get a view of the bigger picture once again.
If you’re super busy and doubt it’s possible at all to fit any form of exercise into your schedule, I’m not going to leave you hanging!
Check out Lindsay Brin’s book How to Exercise When You’re Expecting: For the 9 Months of Pregnancy and the 5 Months it Takes to Get Your Body Back .
She shares her tried and tested tips for fitting exercise and good nutrition into a busy schedule.
These are the tips that worked for her during her pregnancies and she’s confident they’ll work for you too!
It’s not easy, but follow in the steps of other mamas who are doing it (or have done it)! You can do it. 🙂
Stay Healthy With Pregnancy Exercises
There you have it, mama!
Nine safe pregnancy exercises you can do throughout any of your trimesters. Give some of these a try! You’ll feel better and you’ll be prepared for a great labor, delivery, and recovery.
Remember to make consistency your goal rather than intensity. Even light brisk walks can do wonders for your body. Prepare your mind and body as you wait for your little one to come.
Over to you, mama!
What pregnancy exercises have you done that are safe during each of your trimesters? Share with the rest of us in the comments below!
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