The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Fitness

The more active and fit you are during your pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you cope with labor and getting back into shape after birth. Keep up your normal activity level as long as you feel comfortable. Don't exhaust yourself and remember to slow down as your pregnancy progresses.

Month ONE
  • Begin exercising 3-4 times per week firing the first month if you don't have any existing health problems.
  • Walking is a great place to start if you were not active prior to your pregnancy.
  • If you regularly participate in exercises that could be dangerous, such as horseback riding, scuba diving, gymnastics, skiing, or exercises that leave you out of breath, STOP doing these right away to avoid harm, to you and your growing baby.
Month TWO
  • Light jogging/running is a good exercise for pregnant women to participate in as long as you aren't pushing yourself to hard. 
  • Talk to your doctor at your first appointment to make sure your exercise plan meets physician approval,
  • During the first 3 months, you can incorporate zumba or other dance into your routine.
  • Balance should not be thrown off too mych at this point in pregnancy. 
  • Do not allow your body to overheat. This is especially important during the first trimester while your baby is developing all of the major bodily structures, If it is too hot outside, adapt your workout to take place indoors.
Month FOUR
  • If you live in a safe quiet neighborhood, cycling can be a good option, but don't attempt this in areas with lots of traffic or rough roads.
  • An exercise bike can help you achieve this workout without the hazards of biking on the road. 
  • At this point in your pregnancy it's a good idea to stop lying on your back. Your growing uterus can start to push down restricting your blood flow.
  • Stay away from any stretches or exercises that require you lay flat and try to stop sleeping on your back as well. 
Month FIVE
  • Swimming is a great activity to enjoy during any part of your pregnancy, and as your belly grows you may find it the only comfortable method of exercise.
  • Make sure that you are not excessively holding your breath, and that you use plenty of sunscreen to avoid painful burns.
  • Stay Hydrated. A pregnant woman needs between 2-3 liters of fluid daily, and needs an extra cup for each hour of exercise. Try to avoid caffeine and definitely don't drink any alcohol. 
Month SIX
  • Kegals are exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor, so it is important for a pregnant women to add kegals to their daily routing in order to improve your labor and delivery experience. 
  • Tightening your pelvic floor muscles a couple times per day will get you in good shape and ready to push your little one out. 
  • As your belly grows you will find yourself off balance at times. Make sure that you avoid situation where you could easily fall and injure yourself. Wearing high heels may become dangerous, and so can other daily activities. Use extra caution. 
  • Light weightlifting can help to strengthen your arm muscles- and you'll need some muscles after your little one arrives! Don't do bench pressing or other exercises that would require you to lay on your back. 
  • Only lift half of what you would normally, and make sure you have a spotter. 
  • Wear a bra with good support to avoid injuring your tender growing breasts. 
  • You may not feel like taking a jog at this point, but a little prenatal yoga can work wonders. Not only will your circulation benefit, but you will be more relaxed which can help to prepare you for the upcoming delivery.
  • Try signing up for a class or buy a DVD so that you can do yoga in your own home. 
  • Eat a snack at least 1 hour before exercising to avoid a drop in blood sugar. After you are finished eat again (even just a small snack) within an hour of finishing your workout.
Month NINE
  • Deep breathing is important throughout pregnancy and especially as your due date approaches. When you aren't breathing deep enough your lungs may expand but your stomach won't move. 
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. With hands on your stomach make sure that it is being pushed out with every breath. 
  • By combining different types of exercise throughout your pregnancy you can keep your body healthy. You are more likely to have an easier delivery and recover if you keep up on your fitness needs. 

If you're looking for a way to spice up your routine, check out some of the ideas below! Remember these are just samples of the type of workouts you can do, but you may want to consult your physician before starting to be on the safe side! If you are pregnant and have your own routine, please share it in the comments!

Workout Schedule #1
Day 1: 20 minutes of Cardio
Day 2: Weight Training Workout 
Day 3: 20 minutes of Cardio 
Day 4: Weight Training Workout 
Day 5: 20 minutes of Cardio
Day 6: Weight Training Workout 
Day 7: Rest

Cardio Ideas:
Choose the exercise for your day. All you need to do is 20-30 minutes of one of the following activities (these are just a few ideas)

  • Dancing
  • cycling
  • walking
  • Jogging
  • swimming
Sample Pregnancy Weight Training ideas:
Choose the exercise for your day. All you need are 2- to 5-pound dumbbells and a chair. Do 1 or 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise, choosing a weight that is comfortable or simply using your body weight. (these are just a few ideas)

  • Plie Squats
  • Wall Push-Ups
  • Stability Ball Leg Curls
  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Triceps overhead extensions
  • Biceps curls
  • Lateral raises
  • Weighted Squats

Weekly Schedule #2:
Day 1: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio
Day 2: Core and pelvic floor work*
Day 3: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity
Day 4: Upper and lower body strength training*
Day 5: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity
Day 6: Core and pelvic floor work, upper and lower strength training*
Day 7: Rest

*See exercises below

Cardio Ideas:
Choose the exercise for your day. All you need to do is 20-30 minutes of one of the following activities (these are just a few ideas)

  • Dancing
  • cycling
  • walking
  • Jogging
  • swimming
Routine Details:
Core (Abdominal) Exercises
  • Clams- Start by lying on your side with your hips stacked and both legs bent, knees pointing forward. Place your left arm on the floor with your left ear resting on your biceps. With your toes together, lift your right knee without changing your hip position, and exhale, drawing your abs toward your spine. Slowly return to starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps; then switch sides.
  • Dipping the Toes- If you’re in your first trimester, start by lying on your back. Otherwise, sit in a chair or lie on the floor with two pillows elevating your upper body. Bend your legs into a tabletop position with your shins parallel to the ceiling (if you’re in a chair, keep them parallel to the wall, feet lifted) and your arms at your sides. Exhale, drawing in your abs, and gently dip the right foot toward the floor; then repeat with the left foot. Do 10 reps per leg. 
Pelvic Floor (Kegel) Exercises
  • Kegel exercises- (named after the gynecologist who created them) strengthen the muscles in the base of the pelvis. They can be done sitting, standing, or lying down — and you can do them in your car, at a meeting, or over coffee with a friend because no one can tell! To do them, imagine you’re contracting the muscles to stop yourself from peeing. Just pull these muscles up, taking care not to use other muscles, like your butt, belly, or inner thighs, to compensate (these areas should remain relaxed and your pelvis should stay still). Then, slowly relax your pelvic floor.
  • Quick Flicks- Squeeze the pelvic floor quickly and as hard as you can for one second, rest for one second. Do two sets of 10 each day.
  • Long Holds- Squeeze the pelvic floor as hard as you can and hold for five seconds. Start with two sets of five, two to three times per day. Progress slowly to 10 reps of 10-second holds, two to three times per day. Ultimately, to keep up your pelvic floor strength, work up to 30 to 45 10-second contractions.
Upper and Lower Body Exercise
  • Squats With Triceps Extension- Start by holding a pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells with your arms at your sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Squat, keeping your weight centered over your heels, and simultaneously do biceps curls with both arms. Do 10 reps.
  • Lunges With Shoulder Rises- Start with the right leg in front and the left leg back, balancing on the ball of your left foot, hips facing forward. Keep your arms bent at your sides with your body slightly pitched forward at the hips. Bend both knees into a lunge and extend the elbows at the same time. Do 10 to 15 reps; then switch legs and repeat.
  • Plies With Reverse Fly- Start with your legs turned out at the hips, your feet pointing away from each other. Keep your elbows bent with your arms in front of your chest and your palms facing. Slightly pitch your body forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and drawing in your abs. Bend both knees into a plie and pull back the arms leading with the elbows as your draw your shoulder blades together. Extend the legs and lower your arms back to start position. Do 10 to 15 reps.

Pregnancy Fitness Do's & Don't(s)
  • Preform Low impact exercise (cycling, walking, swimming). Standing Pelvic tilts will strengthen the abdominal muscles.
  • Weight training: 12-15 reps are acceptable.
  • 20-30 minutes of exercise.
  • Regular medical check ups. 
  • Drink Lots of water. 
  • Complete a 5-10 minute pre-workout warm up.
  • Eat Healthy
  • No exercise before 12 weeks.
  • Do not overheat. Wear lose fitting cloths and exercise in a well ventilated area. stop if you feel hot.
  • Keep stretching to a minimum, follow guidelines.
  • Do not do exercises that involve standing on one leg.
  • Do not preform ab crunches. 
  • Do not preform exercises that involve lying on your back after the first trimester.
  • Do not exceed 140 BPM, effort level should be 60-70% of your max heart rate.


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