You probably already know this, but just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. In fact, pregnancy workouts are essential to having a healthy pregnancy and birth, and they will assist you in bouncing back from pregnancy faster and easier.
If you are not active now, pregnancy is the perfect time to start being active and if you are unsure of what exercises you are able to do, check out some of the ones listed below that will last you through every stage of pregnancy.
Before you start any workout plan, though, consult your doctor to make sure you are physically able to complete the exercises safely.
Pregnancy Workouts for Each Trimester
First Trimester Exercises
During the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, most doctors will tell you that you can safely do almost every type of exercise you did before becoming pregnant. So, if you already have a workout routine, stick to it! Additionally, you don’t have to increase caloric intake, either. Women who exercise during the first trimester tend to weigh less when they reach the delivery room than women who don’t, which makes labor easier.
The only issue with the first trimester and working out, for most women, is that they are extremely tired and cannot force themselves to do their pregnancy workouts. If you can, though, you will see an increase in energy. Morning sickness may also get in the way, so find natural ways to combat that.
If you don’t have an established exercise routine, try this one.
Ab Exercises (yes, you can still do them):
Basic sit-ups (2 sets of 10 reps each). An exercise mat would probably be helpful for these.
Reverse crunch- lay flat on your back, knees bent, hands behind head, ankles locked. Raise your legs and bring your knees to your chest. Lower and immediately repeat the action. (2 sets of 10 reps)
Have you ever played “I’m a Little Teapot”? That motion where you are the kettle and tipping over is a great oblique exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and place your right hand behind your head. Now, lean your left hand down toward the side of your ankle without bending at the waist. Go as low as you can. Repeat 20 times then switch to the other side.
Basic arm curls with a 10 pound dumbbell (repeat 2 sets of 10 reps each)
Overhead press: stay standing after the arm curls and bring the dumbbells to your shoulders, palms facing out. Lift them straight up and hold for 10 seconds. Return to shoulders and immediately repeat. (2 sets of 10 reps)
Legs and butt:
Squats: use a chair to help you balance if you need. Do 10 basic squats and then stop for 30 seconds. Do 10 more.
Lunges: you can balance using the edge of a table if you need. Do 10 lunges with the right leg, swap to the left leg and do 10 more.
Donkey kick: Get on all fours like you’re looking for something under the couch and kick your left leg up, knee still bent. Do 10 reps and swap to the right leg.
Walk up 25 stairs every day.
Walk at least 1 mile a day, trying to complete it in 20 minutes.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Workouts
This is the trimester from 12 weeks, one day, to 28 weeks. You should cut out all of the ab and oblique exercises at this point and focus only on arms, legs, and buttocks. Add in additional exercises to your pregnancy workouts to help with the loss of ab exercises.
Butterfly presses: lying flat on you back, knees bent, hold the dumbbells out to your side, level with your shoulders. Lift the dumbbells and bring them in to one another above your chest, in a fly motion. Do 10 reps.
Leg and butt exercises:
Leg extended squat: stand on one leg with the other slightly extended in front of you. Use a table or chair to balance as you do this move and squat with the one leg. Do 8 reps, the swap legs and do 8 more reps.
Third Trimester Exercises
During this trimester you need to start cutting back on all of your exercises in your pregnancy workouts, except your arms and a little cardio.
One mile a day, completed within 30 minutes.
Continue all the exercises you have done up until this point and add reps if you feel comfortable doing so.
Butt and legs:
Keep the basic squats and attempt to walk stairs, if you can, but don’t do exercises that will leave your belly unsupported, like the donkey kicks. You can add in calf raises, which is where you stand with your feet flat, and then raise on to your toes, hold for a few seconds, then return to standing flat footed. Repeat 15 times.
Additional Pregnancy Workout Tips
- Always wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Pregnancy can make you uncomfortable enough, so don’t add to discomfort with your clothing.
- Listen to your body. If you’re tired, stop. This is not the time to exert yourself to the point of exhaustion that you can barely walk.
- Always pack plenty of water and snacks for your workout. You will become thirsty and possibly hungry, and you will need something close by to keep your blood sugar level.
- Bring a partner when you can. In case of some type of medical emergency, you will want someone with you. Plus, having a partner can keep you motivated.
- All of these reps can be upped safely, as long as you feel you can complete them without straining yourself.