Congratulations — you’re pregnant! The age-old question of how to properly exercise during pregnancy is one that new moms-to-be, as well as more seasoned moms, often ask their doctors, friends, and fitness professionals. And, rightfully so — the research and recommendations on safe practices to use during pregnancy change.
Today’s moms and moms-to-be are an active bunch — some are avid exercisers, while others may be just embarking on their fitness journeys. We want you to feel confident in the safety of your unborn baby while exercising, so we’ve designed workouts specifically for pregnancy.
Exercise during early pregnancy is completely safe for most people. But you will want to follow all the dos and don’ts listed below. If you are concerned about the 2 week wait (2ww) or waiting on a beta test, read pre-pregnancy and infertility advice on exercising during the two week wait and early pregnancy.
Ultimately, the most common concern amongst pregnant women is whether exercising will induce a miscarriage. Exercise actually soothes many of the aches and annoyances of the first trimester, and continuing to exercise throughout the pregnancy can only add benefits to the mother and her baby. According to ACOG, women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy (ACOG CO 804).
Because there are certain conditions that put you and your baby at risk, get your doctor’s permission before beginning any exercise routine.You need to stop exercising and seek medical attention if any of the following occur: vaginal bleeding, regular painful contractions, amniotic fluid leakage, difficulty breathing before starting exercise, dizziness, headache, chest pain, muscle weakness, and calf pain or swelling.
Before you move forward with exercise, we need to discuss some of the basics of exercising during pregnancy. If pregnancy hasn’t taught your already, overall, your body is incredibly smart! As it grows a tiny human being, it adjusts your blood pressure, expands your rib cage, and increases your blood volume, among many other amazing things … all without you telling it to do so.
Exercise during first trimester tends to be challenging. The volume of blood pumped out by the heart each minute increases by 5 – 6 weeks gestation. This major change can cause symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, and the feeling of not being able to take a deep breath. This can make you feel low on energy, green to the gills, tired, and simply blah. HOWEVER, if you can manage it, you will probably feel more energized from working out than if you skip it.
Check out the our Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Guide for a comprehensive list of the dos and don’ts during pregnancy exercise. But, keep in mind, these adaptations are unique for every pregnant woman and not every woman will respond to exercise during pregnancy in the same way. So listen to your body! It will tell you what’s too much and when you should take it easy.
In our first trimester workouts we focus on functional training in minimal time. We keep the workouts shorter during the first trimester since most of us are low on energy. Try these workouts early in your pregnancy:
Let me help you nurture yourself and build confidence through fitness, nutrition, and community. No pressure, no stress, and no experience necessary. We got you! Join us for safe pregnancy workouts in the Moms Into Fitness Studio.
 Clapp, J.F., 3rd, and Catherine Cram. Exercising through Your Pregnancy, Second Edition, 2012. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, Inc.