Use these safe pregnancy exercises to stay active during pregnancy. These pregnancy-safe exercises can be used in all trimesters and are a great start to staying fit, active, and healthy while expecting! Plus, scroll down to find some safe pregnancy workouts to include in your routine!
Many expecting moms feel a strong pull to stay active during their pregnancies. We know there are benefits to staying active during pregnancy, and we want to help both our body adjust as well as keep our little beans healthy.
Unfortunately, the world of #fitpregnancy has somewhat made it so that it seems you must continue on an intense workout regime while pregnant. Clearly, #noexcuses doesn't apply to pregnancy (insert sarcastic eye roll).
The truth is, staying fit, active & healthy in pregnancy looks completely different for every woman. Pregnancy exercises depend greatly on what your body is used to, your previous workout routines, how you're feeling, and more. You must also take into consideration how your pregnancy is developing, are there risks? How are you feeling that day? How has your shape changed?
As a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, all of these aspects need to be considered before you rock a workout routine or exercise program. The bottom line though is to do what's right for YOUR body. It doesn't have to be intense or even rigid. Just stay active as much as you can 🙂
Goals Of Safe Pregnancy Exercises
The purpose of working out while pregnant should never be to "have a belly only pregnancy", tone up or lose weight.
In fact, the entire purpose of pregnancy is to grow. Instead, working out while pregnant should:
- prepare you for postpartum (think carrying a baby!)
- stabilize your hips (which is why glute exercises during pregnancy are so important)
- help alleviate pregnancy symptoms and discomforts
- make you feel good!
However, as mentioned above, there is no perfect pregnancy-safe workout routine that works for every mama!
Everybody, pregnancy and day is unique. Thus, take the safe pregnancy exercises below with a grain of salt.
Pregnancy Exercises For All Trimesters
The pregnancy exercises below are just few of my favorites! My personal goals when it comes to training while pregnant are to:
- keep a strong posterior chain and hips (think back of the body)
- strengthen the upper back to alleviate back pain from postural shifts
- ensure strong arms so you can hold a babe when the time comes
- prepare for the fun that is labor and birth
Thus, the exercises below reflect all of those things. Plus, there's a variety of exercises that require no equipment, bands or if you like, dumbbells. The choice in how you use safe pregnancy exercises is yours.
Squats are an amazing exercise while pregnant partially because they're a primal movement. We have to squat every day in order to accomplish tasks. The stronger and more proficient you are the better your daily tasks will be.
On top of that, squats help open up the hips (and we all know that needs to happen!) while keeping them strong. As your weight increases so does the effort required from the legs- keep them strong!
Lastly, I personally love squats during pregnancy because there are so many ways to perform them.. My favorite variations for pregnancy include:
- Bodyweight squats
- Banded Squats
- Goblet Squats
- Tabletop rocks/squats
You can see demos of some of these exercises in my blog post about awesome squat variations.
This is a great exercise to stabilize those hips in pregnancy!
As our pelvis shifts to accommodate birth, it's even more important to make sure the muscles around the pelvis and hip joint are strong and stable. Both to prevent unwanted pain and injury as well as recover from the widening.
Exercises that strengthen the glutes are the ones I recommend most because they glutes provide so many benefits both during pregnancy as well as postpartum (check out how to reduce postpartum back pain!)
Rows Rows Rows
My favorite version during pregnancy is using aTRX suspension trainer. Actually, it's one of my top pieces of at-home equipment because it's so versatile! You can do 100's of exercises with it and all of them can be adjusted in intensity based on where you stand.
However, resistance band or dumbbell rows work also.
While you're pregnant, your center of gravity shifts and your posture changes along with the baby. It's more important now than ever to strengthen the posterior chain(your back of the body) to help accommodate the increased anterior weight.
Thus, strengthening your upper back muscles with rows becomes crucial both in pregnancy as well as postpartum when we're huddled forward so much feeding the baby.
Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Seated Band Abductions
Yes. I love glutes. But the truth is, keeping your hips strong and stable through pregnancy is crucial.
Seated band abductions are great. They help strengthen the outer hips with a bit of added resistance... plus, you get to sit down (these are the resistance bands I use for anything hip and glute related!)
Standing Band Hip Thrust
Working your glutes is more important now than ever. Your glutes are just one muscle part of your pelvic floor that helps to support your organs. And while I adore hip thrusts and glute bridges, there comes a time in pregnancy when they become uncomfortable.
The standing band hip thrust makes it so you can recruit, activate, and improve your glutes while in a stationary upright position. Just make sure not to complete the movement through the low back (which would further accentuate the lumbar extension) but use the hips instead.
Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Face Pulls
A great exercise for the back and shoulders- both areas that need to be strong while pregnant. This exercise will help keep a neutral position in your upper back which is challenged as the front parts of you grow.
Band High Row
Like the face pulls, high rows target the upper back and help improve posture by strengthening the back muscles.
Great for preventing rounded shoulders and the stronger your upper back is the less back pain you'll experience. This red strength band is one I use the most for upper body exercises... pregnant or not!
You'll be carrying a lot of weight in babies and car seats pretty soon!
So it only makes sense to strengthen the arms. Bicep curls can be done in a variety of ways and are a simple, low-impact exercise.
If you're going to train the front of the body (biceps) you need to train the back (triceps).
Training your arms to be strong on both sides will help you carry around diaper bags without using your back to compensate. I personally like overhead tricep extensions (with a cable or band) but press downs work too!
Rear Delt Fly's
Leaving you one last one for your back of body. Our shoulders are frequently challenged in the front and side planes but rarely do we focus on the back of them.
Keep your back of body strong and your day to day functions will be easier.
Safe Pregnancy Workouts For All Trimesters
Having a list of safe pregnancy exercise son hand is great... but not if you don't know what to do with them! Remember, each pregnancy is different (as is each day in pregnancy!), so pick and choose what you can do.
Below are a few wonderful resources as well as my favorite follow-along workouts for all trimesters.
- how to stay fit in the first trimester
- how to work out in the second trimester
- third trimester: how to modify workouts
Safe Pregnancy Workouts
You can check out tons of follow-along, prenatal workouts on my YouTube playlist.
Likweise, below is my most popular video on my YouTube channel. If you love intermittent fasting, it's a great conversation!
Don't forget to pin these safe pregnancy exercises great for all trimesters!
All of these exercises are not only safe but hugely beneficial during pregnancy.
You don't need to do them all at once but mix and matching and placing them in your programs will be an asset.
I also adore lunges in many variations for pregnancy however if you're having certain pelvis issues during pregnancy, training unilaterally (one side or limb at a time) can accentuate them- which is why they were left off the list
Exercise during pregnancy should promote feeling good, ease discomforts, and prepare you for labor and recovery. It should be safe and adapted to your specific needs.
Staying fit while pregnant has a huge amount of benefits so use these exercises to help you through your marathon 🙂