19 answers

What Are My Exercise Limitations During Pregnancy?

Hi. I recently started working out again (after a hiatus of having kids and just too busy) and more recently found out I am pregnant with number 3. I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what kind of exercises I can continue, should avoid, etc. My BMI is within range (although the high end) and my fit/stress test is within range. Prior to my hiatus I ran, strength trained, and took classes. And until I found out about #3, I was hoping to drop some inches in my waist(fat chance now) and legs. Also, I'm not a big yoga fan. I would like to continue working out for health, so I am in good shape for labor, and also for a little "me" time. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks -A.

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I know you probably feel a little disappointed that you were trying to get into shape when you found out you were pregnant again (been there), but of course eveything happens for a reason. You are going to have to tweek your goal slightly, you don't have to give up on it completely! Take this time to get yourself into a routine for working out and maintain the weight that you will gain during your pregnancy. As other moms mentioned, eating healthy is key to avoiding un-necessary weight gain, avoiding cravings and having a healthy baby.

I would also highly recommend swimming or water aerobics, it is a great body toner, and also slims your body without being as harsh on your body as aerobics. Heavy breasts and jumping around do not lead to a pretty after photo ;>

Most of all make sure you maintain this time you had carved out for yourself for your mental/emotional health. I would suggest meditation if it appeals to you or at least journal writing, quiet reflection time or whatever helps you feel calm!
(except a tall one on the rocks;>)

Besides listening to your doctor, be sure to listen to your body and always stop when you feel overtired, dizzy, etc/

Best of luck to you!

i can tell you what my doctor told me: if you've done it before, you can safely continue doing it. if you haven't done it before, now is most definitely not the time to start.

i would talk to your doctor. I was told low impact to tone is fine but absolutely no loosing weight, nothing stenuous, and no high impact(aerobics - step, etc).

My doctor said yoga was great. Just speak with the instructor and let them know how far along you are pregnant so they can let you know which moves you should not do. (like the headstand) There are also great Yoga for pregnancy videos that give you different exercises for your trimesters. I found that I still had to take a lot of breaks which of course is okay.

It all depends on how in shape you are now. If a marathon runner gets preggers she's still gonna put in a few miles a day if she likes, just not 20!! In my case, I was in good shape before getting pregnant with my third (Im four months along now) and I walk regularily, swim and do pilates. I also am a part of VFL.com were I can enter my goal wieght, excersice, fat intake etc and it keeps track of everything to help me not balloon up with this pregnancy!! My doctor always told me that as long as Im excersizing and able to carry on a conversation at the same time, Im not pushing too hard. Hope this helps!

The standard response is that anything you were doing when you got pregnant is safe to do when you ARE pregnant. Just don't increase intensity. At the minimum, do 15 min of some type of exercise (even if it's just walking) a day. This alone will help make your delivery smoother.

S. Mills (Dona birth doula)
Touched By An Angel
Childbirth Services, Inc

I would say, first off, that you should contact your OBGYN and ask as this board is not full of professionals and I would hate for you to take someone's advice (however well=meaning) and cause harm to yourself or your unborn child.

I have heard, though, that any exercise you are not already doing pre-pregnancy is not a good idea to do while pregnant. That while pregnant is NOT the time to try to lose weight. Things like losing inches and all are concerning for a pregnant woman and that is why I suggest you contact your own OBGYN to get the professional answers. :-)

I teach pre-natal yoga and taught during my entire 3rd pregnancy. I could go through with you what you could do.

You could visit my website at www.yogawithlisa.com.

I just needed a couple of more mom's to being a weekly class.

A., I concur with doing yoga designed for pregnant women. My favorite childbirth book is Active Birth by Jane Balaskas. There is a rather extensive section on yoga and yoga exercises, one whole chapter. Your goal right now should not be to lose weight. Yoga can help you get fit and ready for delivery. I do not recommend diet restriction. Rather, ensure that you're getting the right kinds of foods. When you get cravings for junk, you can try some yoga exercises to get you through the cravings. Reality is that sometimes, we will eat junk and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it isn't done to excess. And, most important, talk to your doctor/midwife about any exercise or diet plan before starting. Educate yourself. Find a good natural childbirth class and read, read, read! Even if you've already done these things, do them again to refresh your memory.

Hi A., I agree w/ Tova, however you said that you're interested in yoga. I cannot reccomend this enough. I took prenatal yoga and not only did it keep me limber and strong, it also helped me learn to focus, concentrate and breath. This all proved to be key in carrying out a natural childbirth. It's also great for managing back pain during your pregnancy. I went to Yogani studio on Platt St in Tampa. A prenatal yogi is specially trained in this area and knows what is safe and what is not but I reccomend checking w/ your ob to confirm that you don't have any special considerations. Yoga is also wonderful for a baby inutero. It's a form of gentle massage and he/she will benefit from your relaxed and healthy state of mind. Keep in mind that a prenatal yogi should always advise you to stop anything that is uncomfortable or painful. Beware of someone who does not. All the Best, E.


Before getting suggestions from anyone here, please talk to your OBGYN, he will know what is best for you at this time.

Good luck!!!! I am a mother of four myself and my doctor limited the type of excercise I could do during my pregnancies especially the first three months. After the three months he said I can only do like stretching and breathing excersises, definately no running or jogging!!!!
He suggested walking instead.

Swimming is a great idea. Walking would be good for you as well. You don't really want to try to lose weight now, so maintaining activity is key to not gaining too much. Even if you are not a yoga person, if there is a specialty prenatal yoga class in your area, I would recommend checking it out. Prenatal yoga is different than any other type of yoga. Not only will it help with maintaining a healthy weight, it can also aid in relieving many of the discomforts of pregnancy (such as hip pain, back pain, swelling, etc.)
The biggest thing is to LISTEN to your body and don't over do it.
Ask your doctor about contraindications as well. Your health history will play a part in what he recommends you can/can't do.

Dear A.,
Swim, swim, SWIM! It is THE best exercise... no stress on you or your abdomen or baby. It is so aerobic and you breathe so well all day long after swimming. Also, you don't get too hot... the water keeps you cool, so baby doesn't overheat either. And you feel so good in the water... your belly isn't heavy like it is when you are out of the pool. I swam for all three of my deliveries and could hardly wait to get back in the pool post-partum. If you're not a "lap" swimmer, do some water aerobics. Either way, the water keeps you bouyant and you will get some great exercise and be in the best shape ever for your baby's delivery. :o)
To keep your spirits up, visit my website and pick out a complimentary lipstick or lipgloss. And I'd love to offer you and a few of your friends a complimentary make-over. You'll have some fun girlfriend time and feel like a million bucks! I look forward to your "visit" at www.marykay.com/GinnyBrandecker.
Happy swimming and delivery!
Warm regards,

Walking, jogging, and of corse sex are the best excersizes while pregnate. Your body will let you know when it is time to walk and time to slow down. Sex is the best for every muscle in the body and doesn't require shoes! I know how you feel, I'm trying to get back in shape also. So far speed walking/jogging a mile or two, three or four times a week has been the best results for me. Eating healthy is also a major issue. Eat cold fruits and veggies when you crave icecream or something else cold. Chips-baked chips. nonfat milk with added vitamins. grilled chicken salads with balsamic dressing

I agree with Tova 100%! Always check out what your Dr. has to say before you start anything new. "We" don't know your medical history.
Usually Doctors say you can do anything you did before your pregnancy but you said you "recently joined the gym" so please, please be careful.
Walking and swimming are good choices like so many Moms recommended here because they are effective and gentle at the same time. Don't forget to take a good look at how your eating, good nutrition plays an important role also.
Doula & Childbirth Educator

Don't exercise until your to tired. No jumping up and down. Drink plenty of water. If you have been exercising for 3 months your body is fine with the workout. It probably got you PG. Exercise will make childbirth easier.

I dont know if you have heard of pregnancy without pounds, but its a e book you can purchase that gives you a lot of great tips on what excersizes you can do, as well as pictures of recommended things. www.pregnancywithoutpounds.com

I would consult with your physician regarding your individual situation, but I was told that I could continue to do most things I did prior to getting pregnant until the last trimester. I jogged and lifted low weights with increased repetitions until about 5 months. After that, I walked and did water aerobics until the day before he was born. Unless you have pregancy complications, I think keeping physically fit helps with your state of mind and it makes recover from childbirth so much easier!! Good Luck.

As everyone else has cautioned, check with your Dr. My Dr. said that there are a few things to consider. First, as you get bigger, you'll lose some of your balance (you already know this). Also, as you get further along, your joints start to stretch because of hormones that are released to help spread the pelvis for birth, so joint injuries become more possible towards the last trimester. And finally, my Dr. said that I should be aware that if I injure myself, they really can't give me any muscle relaxers or pain meds because I'm prego. This is why stretching, like yoga, and swimming and walking are so highly touted during pregnancy, they help reduce your risk of the types of injuries that can be sustained during pregnancy. HTH.

Hi A.,
I worked out at the gym during my pregnancy .I have an 8-month old now-- my first child. I played tennis and continued doing aerobics (cardiovascular training on treadmill, stairmaster, classes, etc) until about my four month. Then I met with a personal trainer who specializes in prenatal workouts. You might see if your gym has one. She gave me a set of exercises I could do in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Some of it was stretching, doing lunges holding weights, sit-ups with the stability ball, etc. Also, kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles used in delivery (thought I ended up w/ a c-section!:-( Also, you might try to find a prenatal pilates DVD or something similar online. Swimming, as I'm sure you know, is also great. Also walking.

Good luck,

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