Exercises to do while pregnant

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Exercises to do while pregnant

  • Prenatal yoga. This is an increasingly popular way to stay in shape while pregnant. Gentle, safe stretching either before or after a workout, or on its own, helps keep muscles toned and flexible. It also helps you remember to breathe deeply and relax, a rather essential skill during this time period.
  • Weight training. Light weight training is a great way to boost bone density and keep your muscles strong. It also boosts your stamina, which is good for when you go into labor. Focus on slow, controlled movements with more reps and lower weights than usual.

  • Dancing or low-impact aerobics. These motions can tone your body from head to toe. Just be sure to do them regularly, warm-up beforehand and drink plenty of water.

  • Swimming. This may be the perfect pregnancy exercise. Swimming is a low-impact activity that doesn’t jostle the fetus around. Doctors have found that chlorine in pools poses no risk to the fetus. As a bonus, it uses practically every muscle in your body and is still possible to do when carrying a few extra kilos.

  • Walking. Plain old walking is actually a great low-intensity cardio exercise. It offers many of the same benefits as running, without the strain on your joints or risk of falling.

Approach with caution:

  • Rigorous dancing, such as ballet. Your joints are actually looser while pregnant, meaning you have a greater risk of dislocating something. Also, strenuous dance jumps or poses could result in a fall.

  • Jogging. Most doctors agree that a gentle run during the first two trimesters is safe, but be careful not to overdo it. Try to avoid running outside in the heat and to minimize impact as you hit the ground. Also, if you’ve never regularly run before, now is not the time to take it up.

  • Ice skating. If you’re an extremely experienced skater and confident in your abilities, you might be willing to risk this one. Still, doctors advise against anything that could result in a fall.

  • Cycling. During the last trimester, the weight of the growing fetus can shift your center of gravity and make it easier to lose your balance and fall off the bike. Doctors recommend extreme caution.

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Wait until after birth:

  • Bikram or “hot” yoga. Bikram yoga might provide a great workout, but it’s brutal on the body and significantly raises your core temperature, which can be harmful to the fetus.

  • Horseback riding. Even if you’re a pro, doctors generally agree that the risk of a fall from that height (which can be lethal for the unborn baby) is just too great.

  • Gymnastics. Your center of balance is off, making it all the more likely that you might tumble from that balance beam. Plus, all the jumping and swinging puts a lot of pressure on the fetus.

  • Scuba diving. If you swim to the surface too quickly, you can develop small air bubbles in your bloodstream, which can be extremely dangerous for the baby.

  • Skiing. There’s less oxygen at high altitudes and the risk of falling is too great. Same goes for snowboarding.

  • Any contact sport. Basketball, soccer, rugby and other high-intensity sports involving physical contact can put an expecting mother at risk.

Photo Credit: Schwangerschaft via Compfight cc


Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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