Recommended Exercises during Pregnancy

Before beginning any exercise regimen, please consult your health care provider. If already exercising, an expectant mother may be able to keep up with the same routine and adapt it as she grows.It is important to keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute and avoid overheating, especially in your first trim ester.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends the following exercises:

Kegel Exercises:

Pregnant women who perform Kegel exercises often find they have an easier birth. Strengthening these muscles during pregnancy can help you develop the ability to control your muscles during labor and delivery. Toning all of these muscles will also minimize two common problems during pregnancy: bladder leaks and hemorrhoids.

Kegel exercises are also recommended after pregnancy to promote perineal healing, regain bladder control, and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. The best thing about Kegel exercises is that they can be done anywhere, and no one knows you’re doing them.


Many health care providers and fitness professionals say swimming is the safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming keeps your body toned without adding weight and stress to your joints. When swimming you are raising your heart rate and enjoying a safe cardiovascular exercise that is not likely to cause overheating. Avoid scuba diving or water skiing.


Walking is very beneficial because it is safe for your body. It is easier on your knees than running and can be easily worked into your schedule. Start slowly and be sure you stretch well before you begin. Set realistic goals and wear good shoes to decrease the risk of falling or pressure on your feet.

Running & Jogging:

Usually if you are in a habit of running, you can continue running. However, if you did not run before pregnancy, you may want to speak to your health care provider before you begin a running program. If you run, make sure you’re well hydrated, avoid over-heating , and wear good shoes.


The best thing about biking is that the bike supports your weight, so there is less stress on your body. A stationary bike is great exercise because you have less of a chance of falling. As you grow, your center of gravity is shifting so your are at an increased risk of falling. As your abdomen grows, it can put a lot of stress on your back. Start slowly and do not over-exert yourself.

Stair Climbing Machines:

These machines pose a small risk of falling. However, side rails provide balance support. Stair climbing is an excellent way to raise your heart rate.


Yoga has a long standing reputation for relieving stress and pressure on your body. Most forms of yoga will be safe for you and your baby, as long as they are not excessively rigorous. Some yoga instructors offer special classes for pregnant women. Avoid lying flat on your back for extended periods of time and try not to overstretch.

There are a number of DVDs out that educate and equip you for doing yoga from the comfort of your own home.


If you already participate in aerobics, you will most likely be able to continue; however, you should speak to your health care provider before beginning a new program. Keeping your balance can sometimes be difficult, so you’ll want to be careful as you grow. Taking a class specially designed for pregnant women is a good idea. Most health clubs offer them. Do not exercise lying flat on your back for extended periods of time.


Dancing can be done in your home or at a gym that offers special classes for pregnant women. Avoid a lot of spinning, leaping, and jumping.

Pregnant women should avoid the following:


Although cross-country skiing is a fairly safe sport for pregnant women, there is a risk of falling. Downhill skiing has a greater risk of falling and is not recommended while pregnant.

Water Skiing:

Water skiing could result in abdominal trauma, especially in the second and third trimesters.

Horseback Riding:

Riding a horse can involve a lot of jolts and quick movements, which can really hurt you and your baby. There is also a risk of falling.

Other things to remember:

Don’t wear tight clothes, but do wear a good sports bra that will give you good support. Wear shoes that have good support and are not slippery, so you won’t fall. Breathe deeply, drink a lot of water, and remember to keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute. Avoid jerking motions and lying on your back for extended periods of time.

Stop exercising if you have any vaginal bleeding, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, contractions, or nauseous feelings.

Source: American Pregnancy Association