My Working Out while Pregnant Tips



Jul 18, 2021

Working out while pregnant has many benefits, however there are a couple things you should be aware of now that you're sharing your body.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas

I will start this out by saying I am not a doctor. If you have concerns during your pregnancy and working out please speak to your doctor.

My Experience

I worked out during both of my pregnancies; staying active is part of my identity and makes me feel like me. There have been a couple of times in my life I have been injured badly that I was forced to be on bed rest followed by two months without exercise. After two months I had to slowly ease my way back into it. During those periods of inactivity I was grumpy, pent up and counting the days till I could go out for my first run!

working out while pregnant
Hiking while pregnant with my first son

Another time in my life I had to stop exercising was right after birth. I had two c-sections and after each birth I was told I couldn't exercise for six weeks. I looked at the doctor and asked her what her definition of exercise was. Was walking okay? She said it was fine as long as I was not over exerting myself. I followed up by asking if hiking is okay and again she said that it was fine as long as I kept it low impact.

The morning of my 6 week check up I had my running shoes on and was about to go for a run. My husband stopped me and asked what I was doing. I explained I had waited six weeks and it was time I went out for a run. He looked at me with that sly look of his and convinced me I had to wait till AFTER I saw the doctor and got the okay.

Of course there is a good reason you must wait six weeks, your body needs time to heal, I am not suggesting to go against the wise doctors!

When I first learned I was pregnant one of my first questions for the doctor was could I continue to work out. The answer I received was "as long as you were working out before becoming pregnant it is okay and encouraged, BUT, do not overdo it or push your limits".

For example, if you are running 20 miles a week at the time you get pregnant and you feel fine it is fine to continue to run 20 miles a week. You SHOULD NOT start trying to run 30 miles a week.

The doctor encouraged me to continue my current exercise routine.

running for two pregnancy announcement to family
20 week photo announcement for my first baby at a local 10k race

20 week photo announcement for my first baby at a local 10k race

I announced my pregnancy the first time by wearing a "Running for Two" shirt at a 10k race. I showed a lot sooner during my second pregnancy, so it was hard to keep that one hidden for as long.

My Running While Pregnant Recommendation

I used a pregnancy support strap under my belly when I ran and went on walks. This held my bump in place and allowed me to feel more secure. A belt is known to help with your running/waling posture and prevent you from falling.

I continued to run into the start of my third trimester, but soon after switched to mostly walking and swimming. When I stopped running I continued to wear this belt on my twice daily walks with my dog or if I was going to be on my feet for an extended period of time.

This belt made all the difference for me!

Swimming Is Great for Pregnant Mommas

Another form of exercise which is great while pregnancy is swimming.I found swimming easier on my joints and it uses a lot of different muscles. My OBGYN offered a free 3 month membership to the local YMCA for two of my pregnancies. The YMCA had a lap pool and I started to use this both times around the 20 week mark.

Of course I had to take it slow, as swimming wasn't part of my pre-pregnancy routine, but as long as I listened to my body I could swim every other morning and slowly build my laps. The greatest thing about swimming, unlike running, is you can swim till the day you deliver, at least I could.

For two of my pregnancies I wore the Motherhood Maternity halter black swim suit. This suit worked great for me. I loved the color, I didn't want to be broadcasting my growing belly and felt black concealed my bump the best.

The morning I was 37 weeks and 2 days I woke up to go swimming. I swam my 20 laps, showered and went into the office. I worked a full day and left to go to my MBA class about 45 minutes away. Right as I stepped out of the car to go into my class my water broke! I was able to swim the day my body went into labor! How cool is that!

Of course I highly recommend finding a good swim suit to grow with your expanding belly and invest in goggles and a swim cap.

Yoga for Pregnancy

Yoga is also a great thing to do while pregnant. This will ensure your body stays limber and allow you to continue to build your muscles. Also great practice for your breathing.

Some poses and positions are not recommended during pregnancy and your yoga teacher should be able to help you understand what those are.

Let the teacher know that you are expecting before the class starts!

In your third trimester you should NOT lay on your back, therefore savasana has to be altered. Twists should be avoided and inversions watched closely. Again note that pregnancy might not be the time to start yoga, but normally you can continue if this was part of your life beforehand.

Cycling while Pregnant

I chose to cycle during all three of my pregnancies, it is part of who I was before having kids. Cycling is great for your cardio and low impact on your joints. As you approach your third trimester you will feel most comfortable on a more upright bike, rather than a bike with drop handlebars.

At home bike setup
My trainer set up with my cycle-cross bike at home

If you don't feel safe riding on the road, you can join a spin class or have your own bike set up at home. I use the Kinetic Road Machine Trainer and set up my cycle-cross bike to it.

For more tips check out Cycling while Pregnant.

Hiking while Pregnant

Hiking while pregnant is another great activity you can do to stay active. I have hiked at all points of my pregnancy, but find the second trimester the ideal time. I even took a babymoon hiking trip to Italy to hike during my first pregnancy.

hiking while pregnant italy
Hiking near Lake Como Italy at 22 weeks

During pregnancy I discovered that a good pair of hiking boots are necessary for better ankle support and comfortable clothes. I have exclusively worn Columbia hiking boots for 5 years now and have no intentions of switching.

The hiking boots provide my ankles with great stability. The bottom has the right amount of tread to ensure I don't slip on wet surfaces. Pregnancy can effect your balance and important not to fall.

For further information read my 11 Tips for Hiking While Pregnant article.

Benefits of Exercise while Pregnant

Also if you exercise while pregnant and throughout the whole pregnancy people say your deliver and recovery could be easier. The American Pregnancy Association list the below benefit from exercise during pregnancy

-Reduces, backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling-Increase your energy-Improves your mood-Improves your posture-Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance-Helps you sleep better-Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your ability to cope with labor. This will make it easier for you to get back in shape after your baby is born.American Pregnancy Association (2021, July 16)

For all those reason above I think it is also important to keep your strength workouts up. If you lift weights before getting pregnant don't give up now! Keeping your body strong while it grows a little one can only benefit you.

Pregnancy is hard on your back and if you can include some back exercises I guarantee in your third trimester you will feel better than you would have if you gave up your strength workouts. You just might have to modify the workout. The guideline I was told was to lift up to 70% what you normally would be lifting.

Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

Overall Tips for Pregnancy and Working out

  • Stay Hydrated. A pregnant woman needs to drink more water!
  • Always consult with your doctor about your exercise plans
  • Keep your exercises at a conversational pace; meaning don't work out where you can't hold a conversation
  • Don't try to push your workouts, try to maintain or reduce from your pre-pregnancy routine
  • Wear a support belt for all exercise and walking
  • Ignore naysayers who tell you pregnant women shouldn't work out!


Exercise During Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits & Guidelines. American Pregnancy Association. (2021, July 16).,during%20and%20after%20your%20workout.