10 Best Pregnancy Workouts That Are Safe for Baby and Fun for You

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Jane Taylor in Health & Wealth

Last updated: 10 January 2020, 04:42 GMT

For all, you mommies-to-be out there, working out may be the last thing on your to-do list. However the benefits of staying active during pregnancy far outweigh the disadvantages, and the right pregnancy workouts will keep you and your baby strong and healthy.

Whether you're a fitness junkie wanting to know how to modify your workouts or are a beginner wanting to ease pain and discomfort during pregnancy, we've got you covered. We have compiled the ultimate list of pregnancy workouts so you can have the best pregnancy possible.

Best Pregnancy Workouts FAQ


1. Is It Safe to Work Out During Pregnancy?

Contrary to what you may think, working out is safe for both you and your baby during pregnancy. There is a myriad of benefits that come with staying fit and active while pregnant. Working out will keep your body functioning optimally and can help alleviate back pain, discomfort, and problems sleeping.

Rather than focusing on weight loss, tailor your exercises to best serve your health and overall wellness. Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to help shorten labor times, and ease unpleasant symptoms such as constipation and swelling in the extremities.

2. Can I Lift Weights During Pregnancy?

Generally, it is safe to lift weights during pregnancy as long as you don't drastically increase your load or suddenly start lifting weights after a period of being sedentary. Because your body is at increased risk of injury during pregnancy, it is important to work out with lighter weights until your body is strong enough to handle more.

If you did not lift weights before your pregnancy, start with body-weight exercises such as push-ups and squats and then slowly add lightweights from there. If you lifted heavy weights before becoming pregnant, cut down on your overall load by about 10 to 20 pounds during pregnancy to avoid injury.

3. What Are the Best Pregnancy Workouts?

The best pregnancy workouts will help you overcome common pregnancy symptoms such as back pain, trouble sleeping, bloating, swelling, and low mood or energy. It is important to pick exercises that are best suited to your lifestyle, current fitness level, and pregnancy symptoms. If you have a stressful lifestyle, Yoga, Tai Chi, and swimming can help you clear your mind and relax.

If you are having a painful pregnancy full of body aches, this may be a sign that your muscles are straining to carry the extra weight of your baby. Lightweight lifting, Pilates, or Barre workouts can help strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, which will ease discomfort. These exercises can be helpful for people who were not active prior to becoming pregnant.

4. What Types of Movement Should I Avoid?

While exercise is beneficial for all mommies-to-be, there are certain movements and exercises you will want to avoid during pregnancy. To avoid injury or causing stress to your baby, keep your exercise routines consistent and avoid high-intensity exercise such as sprints.

A general rule of thumb is to keep yourself active without exercising to the point of exhaustion. High-intensity exercise raises cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone. Such exercises can cause more problems than they're worth during pregnancy. Always stick to gentle, consistent motions and movement while pregnant and avoid any exercises that require fast-paced, jarring movements.

Best Pregnancy Workouts


We have compiled a list of the best pregnancy workouts, highlighting the benefits and considerations of each, so you will know what exercise will work best for you and your baby.

  1. Swimming
  2. Weight Training
  3. Yoga
  4. Barre
  5. Pilates
  6. Tai Chi
  7. Walking
  8. Indoor Cycling
  9. Low-Impact Aerobics
  10. Jogging

Promoted Recommendations

Swimming


Benefits

Swimming is by far the most relaxing and universally recommended exercise for pregnant women. The buoyancy of the water decreases stress on your muscles and joints, allowing you to move freely and easily. Not only that, but a quick dip in the pool can help ease sciatic pain, discomfort from bloating and swelling, and will even help counteract nausea. Swimming is one of the best pregnancy workouts because it gives your sore joints much needed rest and can help reduce the effects of bloating and swelling.

Tips and Considerations

To get in some cardio and strengthen your core, try doing flutter kicks across the pool. Start at one end of the pool, and with a pool noodle, kick your way to the other end of the pool using only your legs. Once you reach the other end, flip over so you're floating on your back and flutter kickback to the other side.

Repeat 4 to 5 times, depending on the length of your pool. You want to get your heart rate elevated and engage your core muscles throughout the entire exercise.

Consider getting water weights to build muscle in the pool. You can simulate push-ups in the pool by floating on your stomach and holding water weights or a pool noodle then pushing down, activating your triceps and shoulder muscles.

Weight Training


Benefits

Weight training is the best way to keep your body in tip-top shape throughout your entire pregnancy. It will help you have a smooth delivery and can drastically improve back pain and discomfort. It can also increase circulation to help ease bloating and swelling in the extremities and is an excellent way to de-stress.

Weight training can drastically improve back pain during pregnancy, as it helps to strengthen your muscles to carry the extra weight of your growing baby. It can also help you gain endurance, stamina, and strength for a smoother delivery experience.

Tips and Considerations

If you are new to weight training, start with light weights and bodyweight exercises to avoid injury. Compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts are perfect for building strength in your entire body. Try incorporating lunges, glute bridges, and squats into your fitness routine to help build muscle in your entire body that will help you tremendously during labor.

Yoga


Benefits

Yoga not only strengthens your entire body but will also help you relax and de-stress. It will help keep you centered, calm and energized throughout your entire pregnancy, and is a great way to foster a mind-body connection. Prenatal classes are a great way to socialize with other expecting moms and to keep your body strong during pregnancy.

Tips and Considerations

Try starting your day with energizing yoga poses and ending your day with relaxing yoga poses, always focusing on relaxation, deep breathing, mindfulness and flexibility. Daily yoga will keep your body moving, your muscles were pliable, and your mind calm and relaxed throughout your entire pregnancy. Make sure you avoid hot yoga after the first trimester and eliminate movements that require you to lay flat on your back, as this blocks circulation.

Barre


Benefits

Barre classes are one of the best pregnancy workouts because not only do they allow you to socialize in a group setting, but they also are one of the best low-impact core workouts you can get with a very low risk for injury. Because Barre takes many of its routines and exercises from ballet, you will build flexibility, core strength, and stamina.

Tips and Considerations

Try taking two to three 30 minute Barre classes a week to gain strength, flexibility and overall muscle tone. Because Barre is low-impact by nature, it is generally safe for pregnant women looking for a total body workout.

Promoted Recommendations

 

Pilates


Benefits

Pilates, like Barre, is an excellent core-builder offering a variety of low-impact and pregnancy-friendly exercises. These exercises are challenging, but low-impact so they will build your core strength with minimal risk of injury.

Tips and Considerations

Try adding a Pilates class or two to your weekly schedule to strengthen your core and take some much-needed time for yourself. You can even find 20-minute Pilates routines on YouTube to follow along within the comfort of your own home.

 

Tai Chi


Benefits

Tai Chi, like Yoga, is one of the best pregnancy workouts to gain a mind-body connection and keep you grounded and centered throughout your pregnancy. Tai Chi is a form of active meditation that involves moving your body slowly and deliberately and can create excellent core strength and balance.

Tips and Considerations

Tai Chi is the perfect exercise for beginners or expecting mothers wanting to foster a mind-body connection with their growing baby by practicing mindfulness and being actively present in the moment.

Walking


Benefits

Walking is the most beginner-friendly workout for pregnant women and will help keep your blood pumping and body moving throughout your entire pregnancy.

Tips and Considerations

Try taking a 20 to 30-minute walk daily to keep your blood pumping and your circulation strong.

Indoor Cycling


Benefits

Indoor cycling is a great way to get in some serious cardio and get away from your daily stress. Plus, cycling classes will allow you to socialize with other people who can provide a much-needed escape from the daily grind.

Tips and Considerations

Be careful not to push yourself too hard, as over-exerting yourself during exercise can have an adverse effect on you and your baby.

Promoted Recommendations

 

Low-Impact Aerobics


Benefits

Low-impact aerobics is a great way for beginners to build strength before lifting weights. If you have been sedentary and want to get in shape, low-impact aerobics is a great place to start. The exercises are often pregnancy-friendly and combine cardio and compound bodyweight exercises, such as squats, to give you a complete workout.

Tips and Considerations

Try doing low-impact aerobics about four times a week to increase your strength and stamina so you can get your muscles ready for weight training.

Jogging


Benefits

Jogging is a great way to boost circulation, endurance, and stamina. Cardio will keep your heart healthy and your joints moving freely, which will help with overall pain and discomfort. Not only that, but it is also a great way to de-stress and keep bloating to a minimum.

Tips and Considerations

While light jogging is okay during pregnancy, you will want to avoid fast sprints and over-exertion. Try jogging indoors during the summer to avoid becoming overheated.

Promoted Recommendations

 

The Verdict


Overall, the best pregnancy workouts for you will be the ones you can stick to consistently. Below you will find the top workouts for both beginners and for expecting moms looking to build muscle and strength safely during pregnancy.

Best Pregnancy Workouts for Beginners

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Low-impact aerobics

Best Pregnancy Workouts to Build Muscle for a Smooth Delivery

  • Weight training
  • Barre
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
 



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