Exercise During Pregnancy: Best Sports & Activities for Future Moms

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Pregnancy is a time of many changes, both physically and emotionally, and it can be tempting to put your feet up and take it easy. However, staying active during pregnancy has numerous benefits, including reducing the risk of complications, improving sleep and mood, and helping you prepare for labor and delivery. In this article, we will explore how to stay fit and active during pregnancy, including safe and effective exercises for each trimester, how to modify your workout routine as your pregnancy progresses, and tips for staying motivated.

When Should and Should Not Exercise During Pregnancy

It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing any exercise program during pregnancy, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. In general, if you were physically active before pregnancy, it is safe to continue exercising throughout pregnancy as long as you listen to your body and take appropriate precautions.

However, there are some situations in which exercise should be avoided, including:
  • High-risk pregnancy: If you have certain medical conditions such as preeclampsia, placenta previa, or preterm labor, your healthcare provider may advise against exercise or recommend modifications to your routine.
  • Vaginal bleeding: If you experience vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge during pregnancy, it’s important to stop exercising and consult your healthcare provider.
  • Preterm labor: If you experience contractions or other signs of preterm labor during exercise, it’s important to stop immediately and seek medical attention.
While sport is generally safe during pregnancy, there are some risks to be aware of. These can include:
  • Overheating: It’s important to avoid overheating during exercise, as this can be dangerous for both you and your baby. Be sure to stay hydrated and avoid exercising in hot, humid environments.
  • Falls and injury: As your body changes during pregnancy, your balance and coordination may be affected. It’s important to choose activities that are low-impact and low-risk, and to be extra cautious to avoid falls and injury.
  • Preterm labor: In some cases, exercise can trigger preterm labor, especially if you are at high risk for preterm delivery.

Appropriate Sports and Activities

There are many safe and effective exercises and activities to choose from during pregnancy, including:
  • Walking: Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done throughout pregnancy and is a great way to get some fresh air and gentle exercise.
  • Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help relieve pressure on your joints and can be especially beneficial during the later stages of pregnancy.
  • Yoga: Prenatal yoga is a great way to improve flexibility, strength, and relaxation during pregnancy, and can help prepare you for labor and delivery.
  • Strength training: Strength training can help improve overall fitness and prepare your body for the physical demands of labor and delivery. Be sure to use light weights and avoid heavy lifting and straining.
  • Aerobics: Low-impact aerobics classes, such as those specifically designed for pregnant women, can be a great way to get some exercise while also socializing with other moms-to-be.

Frequency and Duration of Sport During Pregnancy“

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread out over at least three days per week. It’s also important to include strength training exercises at least two days per week.

However, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it. Start with short sessions of 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the duration and intensity as you feel comfortable.

Be sure to take breaks as needed and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Remember that you are growing a human being and your body is working hard to support that growth.

Modifying Your Workout Routine as Your Pregnancy Progresses

As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to make adjustments to your exercise routine to accommodate your changing body. Here are some tips for modifying your workout routine during each trimester:

First Trimester:

During the first trimester, you can generally continue with your pre-pregnancy workout routine, as long as it feels comfortable. However, you may need to avoid exercises that involve lying on your back, as this can reduce blood flow to your uterus.

Second Trimester:

As your belly grows, you may need to modify your workout routine to avoid putting too much pressure on your abdomen. Avoid exercises that involve twisting or bending at the waist, and focus on low-impact exercises that are easy on your joints.

Third Trimester:

In the third trimester, you may need to further modify your workout routine to avoid fatigue and discomfort. Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back or stomach, and focus on exercises that help prepare your body for labor and delivery, such as squats and pelvic tilts.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated to exercise during pregnancy can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with morning sickness, fatigue, or other pregnancy symptoms. Here are some tips for staying motivated:

  • Find a workout buddy: Having a friend or partner to exercise with can help keep you accountable and make exercise more fun.
  • Join a prenatal exercise class: Prenatal exercise classes are a great way to meet other expectant moms and get some expert guidance on safe and effective exercises.
  • Set realistic goals: Set small, achievable goals for yourself and celebrate your progress along the way.
  • Listen to your body: If you’re feeling too tired or uncomfortable to exercise on a particular day, it’s okay to take a break.
Staying active during pregnancy has numerous benefits for both you and your baby, and there are many safe and effective exercises and activities to choose from. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing any exercise program during pregnancy, and listen to your body to avoid overdoing it. With a little motivation and a lot of self-care, you can stay fit and active throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

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