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Exercise Routines Pre-Pregnancy

Posted on 19/11/2012 in Pregnancy & Baby & Well-Being

Thanks to increasing awareness of the importance of prenatal fitness, pregnant women have more information than ever before regarding safe exercise options. While there are many exercises that simply shouldn’t be done while pregnant (such as ones that involve falling or getting hit), there are many everyday exercise routines that can be altered to increase safety and comfort for a pregnant body.

While you should always talk to your doctor first before developing a maternity fitness routine, the following tips will help you adjust your current routine to suit your changing body.  

Spinning class

Spinning is a fantastic low-impact workout that avoids putting too much pressure on your joints and allows you to go at your own pace. When you start getting larger, however, you will need to avoid doing certain moves, because your centre of gravity and balance are compromised. For example, avoid standing up on the pedals during hills, runs and jumps.

Outdoor cycling

If you normally cycled outside before you were pregnant -- and if you are healthy -- then there is no reason you can’t continue to do so. Since there is always a risk of falling, especially as you get bigger, avoid going too fast and cycling in high-traffic areas, or in technically challenging areas.

Step aerobics

You can continue doing your step aerobics throughout pregnancy, and the level of intensity you choose will entirely depend on how you feel as you get bigger. To avoid the balance issue and putting too much extra pressure on your joints, consider lowering the height of your step as your pregnancy progresses.


Yoga offers plenty of prenatal benefits, such as improved strength, increased flexibility and practice with meditating, but there are some poses that aren’t designed for a heavily pregnant body. For example, the downward facing dog, crane, cobra, upward facing dog and corpse are all poses you should avoid in the later stages.

Essentially, any inverted poses, backbends or poses that have you lying on your stomach should be avoided after the first trimester. To ensure safety, it’s generally recommended that you join a yoga class that has been specially designed for pregnancy.


Going for a swim in a controlled environment (like at a calm beach or in a pool) is one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. Not only does swimming help strengthen your body, but it does so in a very low-impact way, which is especially great for the third trimester. All you need is comfortable maternity swimwear and a swimming buddy, and you’re good to go.

Strength training

If your doctor says so, then strength training can be both safe and highly beneficial for a pregnant body. However, you should modify your routine in the following ways: avoid laying on your back, hold on to a support during any moves that could compromise your balance, and pay closer attention to your posture and spinal positioning. Don’t lift any weights that cause you to lean, arch your back or round your shoulders, and always ensure your spine is neutral and your posture is upright.

Just because you have a growing pregnant body doesn’t mean you should stop being active. In fact, the opposite is true. Staying fit provides a lot of benefits to you and your baby, and as long as you talk to your doctor first, you can do it in a safe and comfortable way.


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