Expert Answers: Working Out While Pregnant


By Nicole Radziszewski |

Q | 

A | Forget antiquated advice to cut back on or abandon working out while pregnant. “Pregnancy is not a state of confinement,” stresses Raul Artal, MD, main author of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ exercise guidelines for pregnancy. Regular prenatal exercise has been linked to benefits for both mother and baby (more energy, better sleep, fewer interventions during delivery, etc.), and in the first trimester, you can continue doing most of the things you were doing preconception.

If you were inactive prior to getting pregnant, now is not the time to start training intensely — but you can start training at a lower intensity, adds Brandi Dion, personal trainer, triathlete, mother of two, and coauthor of The Pregnant Athlete.

The key to a fit pregnancy is listening to your body.

The key to a fit pregnancy, says Dion, is listening to your body: Does what you’re doing feel challenging — or painful? Is a movement supporting or aggravating a sensitive area? Stop if you feel any abnormal discomfort. You’ll also want to drink plenty of water, eat enough to keep up your energy, and avoid exercising in hot, humid conditions. Train as intensely as you comfortably can, aiming for no more than an 8 on a 1-to-10 exertion scale.

Regardless of your pre-pregnancy activity level, Dion suggests adding core work to your exercise regimen.

“The core includes everything from your knees to your shoulders,” says Dion. These areas are put under a lot of strain as your body changes during pregnancy. A strong midsection can help prevent or alleviate back pain and make delivery and the recovery process easier.

Dion offers the following tips for safely strengthening your core:

  1. Avoid movements that involve rotation while in a seated position.

By Nicole RadziszewskiRather than view early pregnancy as a time to water down your workouts, instead make an effort to maintain your fitness, and use exercise to prepare your body for the months to come, says Brandi Dion, personal trainer, triathlete, CrossFitter, mother of two, and coauthor of . Dion offers the following workout for women in their first trimester.Start with five to 10 minutes of easy jogging, followed by about five minutes of the following dynamic stretches.Repeat the following circuit three times.

By Katie DohmanThe following workout for the second trimester was created by personal trainers Brandi and Steve Dion, EdD, authors ofAs always, before beginning a workout regimen, be sure to consult your physician to ensure the activities you are looking to incorporate into your daily life are safe for you and your baby.In regard to the exercises themselves, your body is the best warning light there is. If a movement makes you feel uneasy, unstable, or causes a sensation that does not feel right, stop the movement or change position.Your warm-ups can be the same or similar to the first trimester warm-ups. As you reach your third trimester, the inchworm could be modified from a pushup to a plank.Repeat the following circuit three times.(Note: You can also substitute with pike pushups if you do not have the equipment to do an overhead press.)

By Katie DohmanThe following workout was created by Brandi and Steve Dion, authors of As always, before beginning a workout regimen, be sure to consult your physician to ensure the activities you are looking to incorporate into your daily life are safe for you and your baby.Your warm-ups can be the same or similar to the first trimester warm-ups. As you get into your third trimester, the inchworm could be modified from a pushup to a plank.Repeat the following circuit two to three times, resting as needed.

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