If you’re looking for a safe & effective pregnancy workout plan, then I’ve got you!
I have had 2 pregnancies. I was not active at all with my first, but my second I continued my workouts. The difference? Less overall weight gain, and no swollen feet the second time around! Not to mention, recovery was so much faster after delivery.
Always consult your doctor. I am not a doctor. I am just sharing my pregnancy workout plan. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute of the information and advice you receive from a healthcare professional.
When should you start your prenatal workouts?
The general rule is that if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and were working out prior, you can continue working out with modifications as needed.
Examples of pregnancy complications:
- Unexplained persistent bleeding
- Placenta previa after 28 weeks
- Incompetent cervix
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Premature labor
- Any other serious cardiovascular or respiratory disorder
- History of spontaneous preterm birth
- Mild or moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disease
- Recurrent pregnancy loss
- Twin pregnancy after the 28th week
If you have any of these symptoms or history of these symptoms, consult your doctor before starting a new program.
What types of exercises are safe for pregnancy?
Most forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy. You just want to avoid anything that increases your risk of dehydration, fatigue, losing balance/falling, and abdominal trauma.
Fatigue might seem like a funny one to avoid, but basically you don’t want to push yourself too hard. On a scale of 1-10, your intensity should be about a 6. This means you should be able to carry a conversation during your workout.
If your workout is too intense, you can either reduce the weight you are using, or reduce the amount of reps.
Exercise in your first trimester will look very different from exercise in your third trimester. Not only will you need to dial back the intensity, so you are not fatigued, but more modifications will need to be made.
You might find that your belly makes it difficult to do even bodyweight squats and deadlifts. You will also want to avoid exercises where you are lying flat on your back in your second & third trimesters.
Pregnancy workout plan
I opted for full body workouts during my pregnancy. That way no muscle group was overly fatigued on any given day.
Pregnancy workout structure:
- squat/lunge movement
- back movement, like dumbbell rows
- deadlift/hip hinge movement
- chest/shoulder movement
- glute accessory movement
- additions accessories, like kegels, tricep extensions, if I felt up to it.
- 15 minute walk
I aimed to workout 4 days a week, with a 5th day just walking. I was never strict on this plan though. Some weeks I hit this goal and others I didn’t. It is so important to pay attention to your energy levels and never force yourself to exercise if you are not feeling up to it.
Here is a list of my favorite exercises during my second pregnancy:
- wall sits
- sumo squats
- side lying leg lifts
- bent over rows
- bicep curls
- shoulder press
- incline pushups
- lateral raise
If you want a more specific plan, I love this full body pregnancy workout from Katrina Scott on the bump.com
Toward the end of my pregnancy, I moved to mainly just cardio as my form of exercise, and I still experienced a lot of benefits from this.
Benefits of exercising while pregnant
- lower risk of gestational diabetes
- shortened labor
- shortened recovery time postpartum
- prevents EXCESS weight gain (weight gain is part of pregnancy, we are talking unnecessary weight gain)
- lowers blood pressure
- improves mood
- eases back pain
- may prevent stretch marks
- boost energy levels
- reduces swelling
- better sleep
I exercised with my second but not my first and I personally noticed a lot of these benefits. I had an extremely short & easy labor, no more swollen ankles, and a quick recovery time with my second. I also lost the baby weight a lot faster, but that could be attributed to the fact that I didn’t gain as much because I was staying active.
Listen to your body
There are a lot of benefits to exercise while pregnant, but none of them outweigh your own body’s needs. We are all so individual. What works for one person might not work for another. If you feel the need to stop your workout, do it.
Resistance training is great, but so is walking. Do what works for you, your body, and your pregnancy.