Exercise During Pregnancy

July 20, 2020

When an active woman falls pregnant, she will at some point (once most of her sickness has subsided) consider whether or not she should continue her workout regime.

My answer is yes, why not!

There are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy including:

• Decreased risk of excessive weight gain

• Reduced backpain and swelling

• Increased energy

• Better sleep

• Your usual exercise benefits such as strength, endurance and muscle tone maintenance / improvements.

• Exercise during pregnancy may also support a positive birthing experience.

It is not uncommon for professional athletes to continue or maintain an altered workout regime during their pregnancy under close observation from health professionals and coaches. Although this level of assistance may not be available for the majority of pregnant women, there are some exercises that can be performed right up until delivery.

Before we dive into some of these exercises, it is important to remember that everyone is different and that this is no different during pregnancy. You must listen to your body, be smart and make educated decisions about your exercise plans and goals during your pregnancy. If you have any concerns or questions, speak to coaches at your gym or seek medical advice.

Now that has been said, let’s take a look at some exercises that can be carried out during pregnancy:

1. Walking

Walking is a great place to start for those who are not used to exercising. Walking is also a great place to finish for those who begin to struggle to keep up towards the tail end of their pregnancy.

Walking can be done anytime, anywhere and is free.

Start short and slowly build-up the distance.

Walking is a great form of low impact cardio.

2. Cycling

Cycling on a stationary bike is another great form of exercise for newbies who are pregnant.

Much like walking, you can start short and slowly build-up your distance.

A stationary bike supports some of your body weight, therefore reducing the stress and impact on your limbs and joints.

3. Running

Running is a great aerobic workout and is safe during pregnancy. However, I would only recommend this type of exercise if you were a runner or jogger prior to pregnancy.

No harm will come to the baby whilst running.

However, be careful as your baby weight increases, this will begin to put additional pressure on your limbs, joints and pelvic floor.

It should be noted, that running late in your pregnancy can induce labour so be careful and seek advice as your pregnancy progresses.

4. Swimming

Probably one of the most popular forms of exercise within the pregnancy community.

The buoyancy of water relieves the weight from your joints and limbs, whilst providing a great form of aerobic activity.

The range of motion you can achieve is increased in water without the additional pressure on joints.

Classes such as Aqua aerobics are extremely popular and can be taken right up until delivery.

5. Yoga

Yoga is another popular exercise choice amongst woman who are pregnant, so much so that there are special prenatal yoga classes on offer, probably not far from you.

The benefits from yoga only increase during pregnancy.

You can expect to benefit from increased flexibility and mobility within your joints, plus strengthening and conditioning of your muscles.

Additionally, increased blood circulation and the practice of relaxation techniques can put you in good stead for labour and delivery.

6. Weight Lifting

Lifting weights is a great way to increase / maintain muscle tone whilst pregnant. However, I would not recommend weight lifting unless this was a form of exercise you engaged in prior to pregnancy and have extensive technical knowledge.

Ideally you should reduce the amount of weight and increase your number of sets.

There is also the possibility to switch out to machines. This will limit your range of movement and minimize the chances of injury.

Remembering to breathe is very important during weight lifting, but even more so when pregnant. The lack of oxygen getting to you brain can cause you to feel lightheaded or pass out.


If you were active and regularly engaging in exercise prior to pregnancy then you should be in a good position to simply carry on as you were, with some slight amendments and alterations to your training program.

If you have not been active prior to pregnancy, this does not mean you cannot or should not be active during pregnancy.

A low-intensity program that is gradually built upon is the best approach to adopt.

I’m going to leave you with a few things to be aware of:

• Be careful with your balance and any exercises that may challenge this

• Avoid contact sports

• Listen to your body! If you start experiencing unusual or concerning symptoms stop and seek medical advice

• You should be able to talk during exercise, or so out of breath that you can’t.

• Remember to stay hydrated

• Do not engage in exercise that requires you to lay flat on your back after 16 weeks for longer than 2 minutes

Happy Training!