Working Out During Pregnancy

Updated on January 10, 2011
Y.D. asks from Chicago, IL
19 answers

Hello mamas,

I have a question about working out during pregnancy. I already have 3 kids and never worked out when I was pregnant before. I have been working out for the last year and half and loosing all the baby weight, have lost 45lbs, but I'm not done yet. I still need 40-50 lbs to loose. I just found out I'm pregnant again (IUD failure) and I would like to continue working out so I don't get all out of shape and don't gain so much weight. I know I have put my diet on hold for now, but what about exercise?

I was wondering what is safe as far as working out during pregnancy, how often is ok, is weigh training ok if I was doing it, or better skip it and do other exercises ?

I'm going to see my doc next week, but was wondering if could get some answers on here.
Thank you

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So What Happened?

Just a FYI, I went to see my doc right away when I took the test and it was positive. He took the IUD out right away and did an ultrasound to check everything and everything looks just right. He'll keep monitoring me on weekly basis right now to make sure things stay that way....

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answers from Chicago on

I am 21 weeks pregnant and still working out everyday. I do what I have done before. What I did change is when I do weight lifting is I elevate my bench so it is not flat. Otherwise everything else is the same.



answers from Las Vegas on

I walked a lot when I was pregnant. I walked in from the parking lot and back in the evening and on break 3x a day, I walked around the parking lot. At 7 months it was August in Vegas, rather extreme heat. When I was in my last stages, I didn't have enough fluid and started having to see the specialist every week and then twice a week. I wasn't losing fluid and was drinking more than enough water. She finally asked what I was doing and she told me to tone down the walk before I go on BEDREST!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I went against what all medical doctors say. I did pliates until I was 36 weeks with 2 of my 3 kids. I am currently pregnant with #4 (no BC failure)and my pliates instructor had her own baby and never came back, so I walk, etc for exercise. LISTEN to your body. If you feel strange, then listen to that. Most OBs will tell you that stopping pilates at 16 weeks is what you should do. I stopped at 36 weeks since lying on my back was starting to make me feel uncomfortable, etc.

Depending on your diet, you may not have to put it on hold. If you are eating sensibly, then it shouldn't be an issue. Weight training, etc should be fine, but LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If it feels wrong, then it probably is and vice versa. I would keep doing what you are doing. If you were 25 weeks and wanted to START a program, then you might have a harder issue...but you were doing this before you got pregnant.

Good luck - and congratulations!!!

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answers from Austin on

I am a midwife. Exercise during pregnancy is completely safe. Just don't add new things in during this time. Keep doing what you have been doing. And as your pregnancy progresses cut out any abdominal exercises such as crunches. Also, water aerobics is wonderful to do during pregnancy.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Just keep doing what you have been doing unless any particular movement becomes uncomfortable. As Momof3girls said, crunches are out. Some doctors still don't believe in exercise during pregnancy, but there have been many studies that show that it is a benefit to you and your baby. My midwife was very encouraging to me to keep active.

I am a runner and I ran pretty much the same distance (a few miles a time at a reasonable pace) and frequency (a few times a week) until I was 7 months pregnant, then switched to walking and added some prenatal Yoga. My daughter was born 7lbs8oz with a natural delivery and I had a quick recovery. My midwife was sure my physical condition helped with my over 3 hours of pushing! I was 41 at the time.

I found great workout gear with the Mothers in Motion brand of bras and other clothing.

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answers from Chicago on

Weight training is fine as long as you don't overdo it. Most exercises that aren't high impact are good as long as you don't over do it. Talk with your doctor about what he/she would recommend, but good for you!



answers from Washington DC on

My doc let me keep my same routine until I had pre-term labor and placenta previa. Then it was just pretty much swimming. Swimming is great. Pre-natal yoga or pilates are great. Weight training is fine as long as you don't lift too much. Check how much with your doc.
And really you can still focus on healthy eating. You really based on being more then 40 pounds overweight don't need to add extra calories to your diet. I wouldn't subtract a lot while pregnant though.


answers from Chicago on

Your doc will tell you that as long as you are not considered high risk, the best thing you can do is continue wtih everything you were doing for exercise BEFORE you got pregnant. For me, that means running, spinning, weight lifting, etc. For you, that could be something else entirely. Listen to your body and never work to the point of complete EXHAUSTION. But other than that, you don't really have to change anything you are doing. As for diet -- I would not say it needs to be "ON HOLD." You should eat healthy -- lots of veggies, fruits, lean protein, dairy -- and balanced. It is not an excuse to totally let go of a healthy lifestyle. I eat clean during pregnancy (with the occassional treat). That means whole grains, quinoa, cous cous, low fat dairy/yogurt, berries, leafy greans, chicken, tofu, pork, some red meat. I have never gone over the recommended weight gain of 25-35 lbs for an average weight woman (I am NOT a stick but a muscular athlete who normally weighs in the 140s/150s when not prego at 5'8"). I am on baby #3 myself (due in May). It can be done and you will feel better after this birth if you stick with a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy and avoid excess weight gain -- just what is necessary for the baby.

Best wishes!


answers from Rochester on

My doctor told me to keep my heart rate under 140 BPM since I had started jogging shortly before getting pregnant this last time. I think my rule of thumb was letting myself walk fast or jog as long as I could talk a little bit (I don't have a heart rate monitor). Most of my regular exercises were okay except for abs workouts on my back I believe, although that might be after the first few months. You can continue to do basic weights, but don't "up" anything and maybe switch to ones that are less likely to cause strain, or decrease the weight and increase the reps for a while. You will have to taper off as your body changes. I can't get enough breath to do much at this point myself, even though there are days I would love to just go for a run. :)

You will still probably be expected to gain the normal amount of weight, but if you work back into the exercise right after (around 6 weeks if you're up to it) and especially if you're nursing and eating a healthy diet, you should not have any trouble losing the weight. It might even be easier. I found it so much easier to lose weight while nursing than after I weaned. Congratulations on your surprise! :)



answers from New York on

You lost 45 lbs! Good for you, but you still have 40 to go? How much weight did you gain? Maybe you should stick to your diet (reasonably) and do yoga/pilates type excercises during pregnancy.



answers from Houston on

I had a friend who was told working out like you are used to is ok during pregnancy. not to go up on her wieghts till after the pregnancy. dont increase the intensity of the workout.


I had a friend who was told working out like you are used to is ok during pregnancy. not to go up on her wieghts till after the pregnancy. dont increase the intensity of the workout.



answers from Los Angeles on

The main thing is to not do more than you were doing. For example, if you weren't a runner but then wanted to train for your first half marathon. Do what you've been doing. You will have to cut out certain movements as you progress but you and your baby will benefit greatly if you continue to workout and eat healthy.

*Weight training is great by the way. I do CrossFit - have seen MANY prego Momma's oly lifting, doing gymnastics, crazy stuff (mind you they were doing it all before), these ladies rebounded from their deliveries big time! There are prego momma programs out there. Stroller Strides has one, crossfitmoms is one - of course many more, those are the two I've had experience with.

To echo what others said - stay hydrated and watch your heart rate. If you are deprived of oxygen, your baby may be too. You can keep your intensity up on your workouts at first but eventually you'll want to bring it down.
Congrats on your pregnancy!



answers from Houston on

When I was pregnant with my son I would walk a 5 story garage up and down and everything seemed ok. M doctor said it was ok for me to work out just not excessibly.

Now when I was pregnant with my daughter It was hard for me to excersise and walk the same way as I did with my son.I would get on the treadmill at work and walk. Sometimes after walking I would start contracting.

I guess is ok to excersise just not so extensive as when you are not.



answers from Dallas on

Well, I didn't work out with my first pregnancy either, but with this #2 pregnancy I walk in the treadmill for 35 to an hour 5 days a week, I try to keep my heart beat bellow 140 and I drink lots of water and I am almost 8 months pregnant. That's all the workout I do but it seems to help because I haven't gain that much weight (like I did with my first) and I feel I can have an easier delivery this time around (hope so!)
Well, good luck and congratulations!



answers from Visalia on

I could not exercise with my second child but with my first one I exercised up until two days before giving birth. My doctor just told me not to push it; he said a good rule was if I was not able to uphold a conversation with someone while running (cardio) then I was doing too much. I also did weight training and I beleive the limit was 40 pounds but I would definitely check with your doctor. Good luck and I think it's great what you have accomplished with your weight loss.



answers from Dallas on

Talk to your doctor to make sure your diet/exercise program will work with your pregnancy, but with exercise, I think you can keep doing what you were doing before you got pregnant and just adjust as you get bigger. Weight training is different, so I'd ask the doc about that. Good job!



answers from Dothan on

Cardio yes, weights skip unless under 10 lbs. No situps! Yoga is great for stetching and keeping strength up.



answers from Boston on

Yes it is safe to work out while pregnant although you not do more then what you were doing before. You can always discuss these things with your ob if you have any concerns. If you do weights keep it light isn't it something like you shouldn't lift anything over 20 lbs. Also please don't wait too long to see your ob. That iud needs to come out asap for your own safety.



answers from Wichita on

What I've heard is that it's ok to be doing the exercising you were doing before you were pregnant, but not to take up new exercising. Your body will probably tell you when you're done. I'd skip the weight training until after you talk to your doctor.

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