Knocked Up Knockouts: Pregnancy-Safe Workout Tips

Pregnant African American woman working out in a Pilates class.

Congratulations, mama-to-be! You’re about to embark on the journey of motherhood, experience the miracle of life, and discover the joys of… backaches, bloating, and baby weight. (We can almost hear your UGHHH from here.) But before you go hitting the couch with a plate of bonbons (though please do it if your body’s asking for it), you do have another option — exercise! 

That’s right, just because you’ve got a bun in the oven doesn’t mean you can’t get cookin’ with a pregnancy-safe workout! And we’ve got some tips to help you do just that. 

The Benefits of Working Out During Pregnancy

Working out while pregnant can have tons of benefits both for your health and the health of your baby! For moms, exercise helps reduce lower back pain, maintain your physical fitness, lower stress levels, and improve your postpartum recovery. And although you definitely are supposed to gain weight during your pregnancy (up to 25 lbs. for overweight women, up to 40 lbs. for underweight women), working out can limit the amount of prolonged weight gain that many women deal with for years after giving birth. And according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the incidence of preterm birth, Cesarean birth, and low birth weight! 

How Much Exercise is Recommended During Pregnancy?

The old “Don’t get your heart rate over 140” line of thinking is not today’s standard. Today, most doctors advise their general population to continue their pre-pregnancy workout routines, and just listen to their bodies as they go. The more canned answer is that scientific consensus tells us that pregnant women should get around 2.5 hours of exercise each week, which can be broken down into about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each day. Moderate exercise is anything that makes you breathe a little deeper and your heart beat a little faster. The name of the game is consistency here, so don’t feel like you need to pop out 50 burpees in your 3rd trimester – it’s better to get moving regularly. 

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working out when pregnant

The Best Workouts for Pregnant Women

Good news, mama! There are so many pregnancy-safe workouts to choose from, and here are our favorites…

Swimming: The ultimate low-impact, full-body workout — a nice dip in the pool will get you moving with literally no strain on your joints. Just make sure you don’t dive or jump in the pool – your little muffin is not ready for those quick pressure changes. 

Walking: An easy way to get into the workout game. You can literally go for a walk up until the day you go into the hospital! Just make sure you have a good, supportive pair of walking shoes, and that you don’t stray too far away from your home base. 

Elliptical: Another great low-impact cardio exercise, elliptical training is perfect for pregnant women. Just make sure that you listen to your body and don’t up the resistance too much. 

Indoor Cycling: If you’re a fan of the sweet Spinning science (like all of us are), hopping on a bike is a great way to get your heart pumping while your belly’s bumping! One adjustment we’d recommend is to not overdo it, stay seated during those hill climbs, and take multiple breaks as you need them. 

Pilates: Strengthening your core muscles will definitely come in handy come delivery time. As with all these exercises, you don’t want to overstretch it, so look into pregnancy-safe Pilates routines. 

Strength Training: Getting stronger is always a good idea — especially when pregnant. The more you safely work your muscles, the more capable your body will be of accepting different kinds of stress later on (you know, like… delivery?). You’ll want to do higher reps and lower weights to reduce any chance of injury. 

Yoga: Similar to Pilates, yoga seems tailor-made to pregnant women, and it’s one of the best workouts for centering yourself and reducing that baby-anxiety. Stay away from hot (Bikram) yoga, because some of those higher temperatures may not be good for your little one. 

Listening to Your Body

With any prenatal workout routine you find yourself in, one rule should come before them all — listen to your body! If you’re experiencing chest pain, prolonged fatigue, or increased muscle soreness, STOP. No matter how much of a warrior you think you are, remember you’re working out for two now. 

Get Started with Pregnancy Workouts at Home

Ok mama, you ready to get sweaty? Darn right you are! And the best way to start is with unlimited onDemand workouts with Studio SWEAT onDemand. We offer tons and tons of low-impact fitness classes designed for all skill levels – these range from indoor cycling to yoga, Pilates to kickboxing, TRX to HIIT — it’s no wonder we were named ‘Best Fitness App for Variety’! We even offer a Toned-Up Mama Class that you can do prenatal, postnatal, and during your pregnancy! 

And if you wanna get even more serious, sign up for our 7-Day Free Trial, where you can try out tons of our workouts for FREE, and you can feel the Preggo-Power from the comfort of home!

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