6 Workouts You Can Do During Every Stage of Pregnancy
If you need any motivation to get moving while pregnant, perhaps it’s this: According to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, exercising during pregnancy can help your body prepare for labor and recover more quickly after giving birth. Here, six workouts you can do throughout your pregnancy. (As always, just make sure to talk to your OB-GYN beforehand.)
If you’ve never tried yoga before (or are still relatively new to it), find a trainer who can guide you through the moves and keep an eye on your form. This is especially important as your pregnancy progresses. By the second trimester, you should skip any positions that require you to lie flat on your back (it could place too much pressure on the vena cava, the main vein that carries blood to your baby) and avoid any moves that really challenge your balance.
The low-impact, controlled nature of barre classes (think small, repetitive movements rather than big bursts or bouncing around) make them perfect for expecting moms. You should be OK to continue your regular regimen through the first trimester, then ask your instructor for modifications for any moves that require you to lie on your back, twist from the waist up or balance precariously on the barre itself.
Major plus: It’s the only workout that has a built-in seat waiting to support you when needed. The bike’s handlebars can also help stabilize you as your belly grows. Just make sure to stay hydrated throughout the class, keep an eye on your breathing (you shouldn’t be panting or gasping) and avoid bouncing and sit-stand routines in your third trimester. Finally—and we can’t stress this enough—go at your own pace. You can stop whenever you need.
Exercising in the water gives you a full range of motion without putting any pressure on your joints. (Plus, it’s the rare moment during pregnancy where you feel light and practically weightless.) Always enter the pool slowly and stick to a stroke that feels most comfortable to you. The breaststroke is a popular pick because it doesn’t require you to rotate your torso or belly to do it.
Yes, it may get increasingly difficult as you grow, but it’s still possible to run throughout most of your pregnancy. Just be mindful of your speed and distance—even if you are a seasoned runner. You’re carrying a lot of extra weight, so that ten-minute mile that used to be a breeze might feel a tad too challenging. Listen to your body and settle into a light jog (or a fast walk) if needed. (Another tip: Plan your runs so you always have a bathroom within close proximity. The jostling of running can push down on your bladder.)
Using heavy weights—particularly in the third trimester—is probably a bad idea, but body weight workouts (like squats or wall push-ups) can help you maintain strength throughout your pregnancy. Might we suggest some low-weight, high-rep arm exercises (like bicep curls using five-pound dumbbells) to help you build strength to carry your tot?