Top 4 Pregnancy Exercises

By Jennifer Pittman

The word is out! I’m 11 weeks pregnant and loving every minute of it! 🙂

If you’re reading this thinking, “how could she be “loving” every minute of her 1st trimester with all the sickness, fatigue, hormonal ups and downs, etc…”, you’re not the only one. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately asking how I’m able to stay so vibrant and energetic during my 1st trimester. Then, when I tell them the answer, I get even stranger looks and words of worry…”GASP! You don’t need to be lifting heavy things”, “You should relax and eat lots of crackers and ginger ale”, “You need to eat more bread and work-out less” – you get the picture.

The answer I usually give people when I’m asked that question above is, “I’m hitting the gym or our Bikini Bootcamp sessions; lifting, squatting, pushing, pulling, jumping, and getting just plain old sweaty!”

Now, I’ve absolutely had some down-and-out days during the past 11 weeks. I’ve been a little more tired than normal and I do get queasy on occasion. However, I’m under the impression that if I haven’t kept moving, those symptoms could’ve been much worse. (Exercise makes the bad stuff better!)

Exercise during pregnancy is vital to a healthy gestational period, healthy baby, a healthy mama and promotes a much more positive pregnancy experience. I understand that not everyone can exercise during their pregnancy either due to previous health conditions, pregnancy complications, etc… But, if you can workout and stay active during those 9 months, it’s a BLESSING and will help you out tremendously!

Below are just a few reasons why it is so important to exercise while pregnant:

  • Prepares your body for the stresses of labor & birth
  • Helps you get your pre-pregnancy body back faster
  • Boosts your self-image during pregnancy
  • Improves sleep
  • Boosts your energy
  • Reduces stress and helps lift your spirits
  • Can help balance those crazy, out-of-whack pregnancy hormones
  • Helps reduce some of the discomforts of pregnancy

If you are pregnant and considering starting or continuing an exercise regimen, the first thing you should do is talk with your doctor. It’s important to let your physician know what activities you are doing and/or are planning on doing. If you’ve never ran before and want to take up a 5K running program, starting that now, might not be the best idea. But if you’re a runner and have a solid exercise history, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to continue what you are doing. The main objective here is to be smart about your exercising and to think about exercise as a positive part of your pregnancy experience!

However, regardless of your fitness level, I’ve outlined some basic exercises below that ANYONE (pregnant or not) can do with minimal risk for injury. These exercises are the backbone to any solid exercise routine and can be practiced daily without much fatigue to the body.

Here are my top 4 favorite pregnancy exercises:

Walking – Humans were made to walk, and in today’s car culture, we certainly don’t do enough of it! Walking is good for your joints, good for balancing your stress hormones, good for your posture, good for your blood-flow…walking is just plain GOOD! Strive to walk for 15-30 minutes EVERYDAY.  Walking is such a low impact exercise, you can do it every day without much stress to your muscles. Get your family involved and make it a ritual every night after supper. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, go for a walk!

Push-Ups – This is the #1 body weight exercise! You can do push-ups without the need for equipment and special gym memberships. They give you a full body workout with emphasis on upper-body and core. In preparation for picking up and putting down that little one of yours, try and do 3 sets of 10 push-ups every other day before you jump in the shower. Start on your knees if you need to and then work up to doing them on your toes. Before you know it, you’ll be a pregnant push-up machine! 🙂

Squats – Squats are an excellent exercise to incorporate into your pregnancy exercise routine because they help strengthen your lower core and pelvic girdle muscles – two areas that are super important during delivery! Plus, squats keep your lower half in shape. If you do squats regularly, there will be no need to worry about a growing backside or thunder thighs after pregnancy. Squats can keep those areas in check during pregnancy even when you’re taking in more calories than normal and eating for 2. Try to do 3 sets of 15 squats every other day to boost your metabolism and keep that lower half nice and strong.

Planks – Planks will keep your core in shape throughout pregnancy by tightening up all of your internal oblique and abdominal muscles. Planks can also help your abdominal muscles bounce back quickly after delivery. Not only do planks focus on core strength, but you will also get a boost in upper body and leg strength. Do planks every day for a maximum core burn! Try 3 sets of 1 minute plank holds and you will definitely feel it!

Pregnancy shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not be active and healthy. On the contrary, it should be the other way around…pregnancy should be the REASON you are getting out, staying active and healthy. Let us know if you are pregnant and what your favorite exercises are.

Until then, you’ll catch this pregnant lady at the gym!

P.S.  If you want more personal tips & tricks, join the Beyond Baby Pre-Launch Team and get the latest updates as we prepare to launch our premiere online training & nutrition program designed exclusively for moms!