Four safe and fun prenatal exercise ideas

Pregnant couple walking dog in park

Getting regular exercise is an important part of being pregnant. Maintaining good health can help reduce common pregnancy complaints like lower back pain, and it may even shorten your labor time.

It’s important that you speak to your provider about what exercise plan you would like to pursue. Most health care providers recommend that pregnant women get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise three to four days a week. Here are some suggested workouts.

1. Walking

Walking is an important exercise for pregnant women because you'll get a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on your knees and ankles, and you can do it almost anywhere and at any time throughout the entire nine months.

2. Swimming

Swimming is a great option because of it gives you a better range of motion and doesn’t put increased pressure on your joints. Another benefit is that there is no risk to falling and injuring either yourself or your baby. Just be sure to avoid saunas and hot tubs when you’re done in the pool.

3. Weight training

Weight training helps you build muscle that will support your joints as they undergo increased pressure during pregnancy.  

Lifting weights offers the additional benefit of preparing you for all the heavy lifting you'll be doing once your baby arrives. Be sure to not lift more than the amount recommended by your doctor or continue lifting if you are having difficulty breathing.

4. Yoga

The benefit of yoga is that it not only helps you maintain a fit and flexible body, it also teaches you valuable breathing techniques that can be used during labor. Keep in mind you’ll have to skip the exercises where you need to be lying flat on your back.

When to Stop

It’s also important that you know when to stop exercising. If you have any of the following symptoms, it could mean that you've put too much stress on your body. Stop exercising and call your doctor if you have:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluids.

  • Difficult, labored, or uncomfortable breathing.

  • Heart palpitations or pain in your chest.

  • Headache, nausea, or vomiting.

  • Dizziness or fainting.

  • Sudden change in temperature, clammy hands, or overheating.

  • Swelling or pain in your ankles and calves.

  • Decreased fetal movement.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Pain in your abdomen.

To know whether to call your doctor or 911, learn about pregnancy emergency symptoms.