Exercise During Pregnancy: To Be or Not To Be?

Pregnancy is a time of great change for a woman’s body and it can be a hard time to know what is going to be expected of you.


Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Adam Martin, investigates a number of exercises (with great benefits for mum and bub) to consider during your pregnancy journey.


1st Trimester:exercise right for condition8

This is a hotly debated topic when it comes to how hard or how much exercise is okay. Many say that raising your heart rate to high is dangerous while others suggest that it is fine and that using your bodies’ response is a better marker to what you should be doing. I strongly agree to the latter, that you should listen to your body and go with what you feel comfortable with. If you are an accomplished runner then keep running, if you have never exercised in your life then take it slower to begin with. What you should be careful of are exercises that may have a high chance of falls or possible heavy contact. And of course, remember to consult a professional first.

Activities that can be great during the 1st trimester are; running, walking, swimming, weight training and cycling.


2nd Trimester:

Often referred to as the “Golden Period” as many of the issues that have held you back in your first 15 weeks like nausea, restless sleep and unrelenting lethargy have passed. This is your time to shine and a time that can be great for both you and your growing baby. If you were not crippled by sickness during your 1st Trimester you can certainly pick up your intensity at this time and enjoy some fun with your training.  Getting into the gym and lifting more weights, attending classes, boxing or hitting the treadmill for a light run or walk can be great activities to go with and will certainly help your baby and your body for the approaching labor.


3rd Trimester:

While you might still want to exercise during this trimester, your growing bump will become your greatest obstacle. Many women will experience back pain, shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins and sleeplessness. With that all said, exercise is still very important at this time as your body is about to go through the toughest challenge you will ever face and you want to make sure you are ready. You should try to avoid heavy lifting during this time as your ligaments and tendons begin to relax during the late stages of pregnancy. However, some lightweights and cardio can be a great way to stay active and strong. Combine this with pelvic floor exercises and stationary core exercises to ensure your body is at its best come the big day.


This can be a great time of change and excitement and an experience you will want to cherish and enjoy. Have fun with your exercise and keep it varied to allow your body to recover during your days off. Below I have detailed a general and well-rounded program I feel can be used from Month 1 to Month 10 and will have you feeling strong and ready for your little ones arrival.


How to Exercise Right for pregnancy


Warm-Up Cardio:

5 to 15 mins Gentle Cardio (walk, stationary bike, X-Trainer)

Exercise Circuit:  2 to 3 Circuits X 15 Reps Each Exercise

  1. Stationary Lunge
  2. Seated Bicep Curl
  3. Swiss Ball Supported Sumo Squat
  4. Shoulder Press Out
  5. DB One Arm Row
  6. Tricep Rope Pushdown

Cool Down Cardio:

5 to 15 mins Gentle Cardio (walk, stationary bike, X-Trainer)

Core and Pelvic Floor Exercises: 2 to 3 Circuits X 15 Reps Each Exercise

  1. Pelvic Hip Tilts (standing or laying on side during 3rd Trimester)
  2. Pelvic Floor Squeeze and Release
  3. Hunting Dog or Hands and Knees Superman
  4. Seated Swiss Ball Hip Circles
  5. Bridge Hold (either on feet or knees)


Remember, before you start any exercise regime it’s important to consult a professional, such as your doctor or local Accredited Exercise Physiologist, and make sure you Exercise Right for Pregnancy.


Blog contributor bottom banner adam martin