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4 Great Ways to Work Out During Pregnancy

Four types of exercise that are safe for all trimesters.

4 Great Ways to Work Out During Pregnancy

"Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychologic well-being." - ACOG

Gone are the days where you have to give up your workout routine because of assumption that it could be unsafe for a healthy pregnancy and baby. In fact, in light of recent studies and research over the past few years, a safe and effective fitness routine is not only highly recommended but also beneficial for a variety of reasons. In addition, it helps increase your body's oxygen capacity which helps transport red blood cells to your baby which is extremely important for growth and development. Because definitive and concrete research on types of exercise and pregnancy are limited, it is important to listen to your body to best understand its limits.

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Here are 4 workouts suitable for pregnancy:

1. Pilates. Pilates based workouts are one of the most effective ways to stay toned and build strength for your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and beyond. There are a variety of pilates workouts to consider: Pilates Mat, Pilates Reformer, or SLT (a megaformer based routine that tones the entire body). Pilates based exercises focus on strengthening your core muscles (the deeper layers) - predominantly the torso region. The goal is to keep these different abdominal layers strong so that they support the physiological process of labor and delivery. Pilates is considered low-impact. When engaging in either the mat or reformer variations, movement that shapes your body into a C-spine, abdominal crunches and laying supine are all contraindicated during pregnancy.

2. Yoga. Yoga is not only relaxing but it is also effective for supporting the growing belly as well as the physical changes associated with pregnancy. If you're familiar to yoga, you may not necessarily need to switch to a prenatal focused yoga, but rather familiarize yourself with modifications. Yoga helps relieve tight hip flexor muscles, release upper back and neck tension and increase blood flow to sore muscles. When performing the Sun Salutation vinyasa series - avoid the upward dog and instead push back up from chaturanga with your knees on the mat. The flexion is contraindicated during pregnancy. In addition, postures that require lying down should be supported with a bolster. If you are taking a regular yoga class, be sure to inform your instructor for additional guidance. Note: Hot yoga is not recommended during pregnancy because it could increase internal body temperature greater than what is appropriate for during pregnancy.

3. Swimming. Water workouts are safe and effective for pregnancy. They're low-impact and help relieve the pressure of achy muscles and joints. If you're not an avid swimmer, there are other prenatal friendly water workouts to consider. The reason water is preferred as a medium is because you could perform the same exercises you would do on "land" but with less strain to the body. Take advantage of the pool if you have access to it!

4. Strength conditioning. These days strength conditioning classes appear in various forms. If you're a member of a gym, you may see classes such as "Total Body Conditioning," "Athletic Conditioning," "Pure Strength," etc. These classes all offer forms of strengthening appropriate during pregnancy. When taking them, it is important to understand a few things: 1) Inform your instructor so that they are aware and if they are prenatal certified they'll be sure to monitor your form and offer modifications 2) Monitor your heart rate so that you're able to see what exercises cause the spike, as too high of a heart rate affects blood flow to the placenta 3) Listen to your body by taking breaks and hydrating as needed.

We'd love to hear what your favorite workouts have been during pregnancy! Comment below. Having trouble getting to a gym or a class? Here are simple ways to build a prenatal workout into your day!

Photo by Amy Frances Photography.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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