BHealthy Blog

Top 5 Gentle and Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women

Jeremy Ray, BS, CPT, Fitness Coordinator

Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: is exercising while pregnant safe? In most cases, yes. Especially if you were already active before you got pregnant, it is generally safe to resume physical activity after you find out that you are pregnant. Most healthcare providers will suggest that you do not exercise for purposes of weight loss, but conduct pregnancy exercises to stay active and healthy during your pregnancy.

Exercise Offers Many Benefits to a Healthy Pregnancy

A common misconception is that exercising can put you at a risk for miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. While it is recommended that you consult your doctor before starting any new type of exercise regimens while pregnant, moderate exercise (after you get the go-ahead from your OB/GYN) is beneficial to you and your fetus and has been shown to:

  • Reduce lower back pain
  • Ease constipation
  • Ensure healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Make it easier to lose the baby weight after birth

It’s important to remember that you have to listen to your body while exercising during pregnancy. If you are feeling overheated or short of breath, stop your workout and reach out to your doctor.

Our Top Exercises for Pregnant Women

Things you’ll need for these five exercises:

  1. 3 – 5 lbs. Dumbbells
  2. Exercise Ball
  3. Yoga Mat or non-slip surface
  4. Plenty of Water

The following exercises are designed to keep you moving during your pregnancy and to alleviate common aches and pains while carrying your child:

1. Bicep Curls

To safely do this exercise, find dumbbells that are a comfortable weight to you, between 3 and 5 pounds. With your feet shoulder width apart, grip your dumbbells – palms facing outward. Bend slightly at the knees and curl the dumbbells to your shoulders while keeping your back upright. As an alternative, you can also perform these bicep curls while seated on an exercise ball. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions.

2. Squats

To avoid slipping on hardwood or tiled floors, it’s suggested that you use a yoga mat to perform squats. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and clasping your hands in front of your chest. Sink into a squat as far as you feel comfortable while keeping your back straight and pressing your heels into the mat. Complete two sets of 20 repetitions.

**This exercise is safe to perform into your second trimester. After this, your range of movement may become limited.

3. Kegels

Start this exercise on the floor, cross-legged in a state of meditation. Be aware of your inhales and exhales. Grab your exercise ball and sit on it comfortably with your feet resting fully on the mat/floor. Breathe in and out and tighten your pelvic muscles with every exhale. Repeat 15 – 20 times.

4. Upright Crunch

A standard crunch can be difficult with a pregnant belly, so this is a standing variation to activate your core  To avoid slipping, stand upright with your fingers interlaced behind your head on a yoga mat. Keep your feet hip-width apart. With your knees slightly bent, inhale and pull your chest towards the ceiling. Exhale and tuck your tailbone in while rounding your back. Inhale and repeat 15 times.

5. Cat Cow Pose

Start on all fours on the yoga mat. Square your shoulders, place your hands flat on the mat, parallel to your shoulders. Arch your back with every inhale and release by pulling your belly button towards the mat with every exhale. Repeat 10-15 times.