The Best Workout for Early Pregnancy

If you’re expecting a baby, you want to ensure your body is as healthy and strong as possible. But did you know that the best workout for early pregnancy might just be the simplest one? You don’t need to overdo it – just a few key exercises can make a big difference to your physical health.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Early Pregnancy

  • ✅ Aim for moderate intensity exercise for pregnancy such as walking, swimming, and stationary cycling. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
  • ✅ Exercise helps reduce common discomforts during pregnancy such as lower back pain and fatigue. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅Strength training is beneficial during pregnancy and can help prepare your body for labor and delivery. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  • ✅Regular exercise during pregnancy can also help with weight management, improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
  • ✅Regular exercise during early pregnancy can help reduce the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

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Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy is important for the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the unborn baby. It can help with reducing the risk of complications during delivery, controlling weight gain and reducing the risk of developing certain physical and mental health issues.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of exercising while pregnant:

Improved physical and mental health

During early pregnancy, it is important to exercise at a moderate intensity. Regular physical activity can help improve overall physical and mental health during pregnancy. Studies have shown that pregnant women who participate in regular physical activity experience less back pain, fewer pregnancy symptoms, and improved moods. Exercise also improves sleep quality which can be helpful in dealing with the hormonal changes that occur during early pregnancy.

Additionally, regular exercise during early pregnancy has been associated with reducing the risk of developing gestational diabetes, gaining too much weight during pregnancy, and even preventing preterm labor. In addition to improving mental and physical health throughout the entire duration of the pregnancy, regular exercise can also help reduce labor time and complications during delivery.

Reduced risk of gestational diabetes

Exercising during pregnancy can reduce the risks of developing gestational diabetes. It’s estimated that 2-10% of pregnant women develop the condition. While gestational diabetes is usually resolved after the baby is born, it can increase the risk of an early delivery and cause other complications for both mother and baby during pregnancy.

Engaging in light to moderate exercise for about 30 minutes each day pattern has been associated with a reduced risk for gestational diabetes, as confirmed by numerous studies. Types of exercise that are recommended include walking, swimming, and low intensity weight lifting. Such exercises will help you maintain a healthy body weight while also making sure your muscles remain strong throughout your pregnancy.

Improved sleep

Exercising during pregnancy can help improve a pregnant woman’s quality of sleep. A 2014 study found that women who exercised during pregnancy had significantly improved scores in all categories of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) compared to their non-exercising counterparts. The PSQI is a questionnaire designed to measure overall sleep quality, including daytime dysfunction and the severity of insomnia.

In this study, women who exercised regularly reported fewer awakenings overnight and shorter sleep latency–or the amount of time it took them to fall asleep–than those who didn’t exercise at all. Additionally, experts believe that exercising during pregnancy can help improve musculoskeletal pain and reduce stress levels which may further contribute to better quality nightly rest for pregnant women.

Types of Exercise

Exercise is a great way to stay healthy during pregnancy. However, you should make sure to choose the right type of exercise for the early stages of pregnancy. Certain types of exercises, such as strength training and high impact activities, should be avoided in the first trimester.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of exercise that are safe and beneficial in the early stages of pregnancy:

Low-impact cardio

Low-impact cardio is an excellent form of exercise for women in the early stages of pregnancy. Low impact cardio involves exercises such as walking, swimming or cycling that place little strain and stress on the body. This type of exercise is safe and does not involve any sudden or jarring movements that can cause harm to the fetus.

Low-impact cardio is also relatively low intensity, making it a great option for those who may be feeling tired or whose bodies are less accustomed to physical activity. It helps keep your heart rate and metabolism elevated while avoiding more strenuous exercises such as running, high intensity interval training or plyometrics that can be dangerous during pregnancy. Moreover, low impact cardio can still provide a good cardiovascular workout when done consistently and at an appropriate level of effort.

Strength training

Strength training is an important part of any workout routine, even in early pregnancy. Strength training exercises improve muscle strength, bone density, and nutrient supply to cells, ensuring that your body is prepared for pregnancy.

During the first trimester of pregnancy (from conception to 12 weeks), attempt to stick with light weight lifting and moderate intensity fitness. Avoid exercises which require jumping, as this can lead to unnecessary stress on your joints. Focus on working all the major muscle groups with moves like squats, lunges, biceps curls and lateral pulls. Remember to stay well hydrated and keep an eye out for signs of overexertion or fatigue. Avoid overtraining and aim for a moderate amount of exercise at least three days a week.

Yoga and stretching

Yoga and stretching are excellent types of exercise for early pregnancy. When done with proper form, these exercises can provide many benefits to both mother and baby. Both yoga and stretching exercises help to strengthen the muscles in the lower back, abdomen, hips, and shoulders which can provide a lot of support for the growing fetus. Yoga also helps increase core stability which can be beneficial when carrying the extra weight of the baby throughout the pregnancy.

Additionally, yoga helps improve circulation by releasing tension in areas such as hips and neck while strengthening muscles in those same areas. Stretching is also beneficial during early pregnancy because it helps keep joints mobile and encourages relaxation by calming nerves and releasing stress-related hormones such as cortisol.

Not only will these exercises help you feel less stiff during your pregnancy but they can also help prepare you for labor by making your body more adaptable to different positions it may have to take during delivery, including:

  • Strengthening the muscles in the lower back, abdomen, hips, and shoulders.
  • Increasing core stability.
  • Improving circulation.
  • Keeping joints mobile.
  • Encouraging relaxation.
  • Making your body more adaptable to different positions.


Swimming is a great form of exercise for pregnant women. It is one of the best options because it is gentle on the body and puts less strain on the joints than other types of exercise. The pressure from being in the water helps support your body weight, making it easier to move more freely. As an added bonus, swimming also helps keep your core temperature regulated as your body will be able to cool quickly in the water if you overheat during exercise.

Swimming can help you build strength, improve posture and flexibility, and increase your cardiovascular fitness in preparation for labor and childbirth. Pregnant women should be cautious not to overexert themselves while swimming; swim only within your comfort level. Swimming can help you relax and reduce stress, which can be helpful during pregnancy – so take advantage of this wonderful form of exercise!

Safety Guidelines

When it comes to staying safe and healthy during your pregnancy, exercising is important, but it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions. While exercising during the early stages of pregnancy can help reduce morning sickness and fatigue, it can also help keep you fit and maintain a healthy weight if done conservatively.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the safety guidelines to keep in mind when exercising during the early stages of pregnancy:

Avoid overheating

When you’re pregnant and starting to work out, it’s important to pay special attention to avoiding overheating. During the first trimester, your body is more vulnerable to changes in temperature and exercise can elevate your body temperature. To avoid this and ensure the health of your baby, it is best not to engage in any activity that causes you to sweat heavily (e.g., hot yoga) or increase your core body temperature by more than 2°F above normal.

Additionally, make sure that you stay hydrated before and after each session of exercise and avoid any form of sauna or hot tub use, which can be dangerous for expecting mothers. To prevent overheating when working out, try wearing light-weight, breathable fabrics and cool down with water between sets or while resting.

Listen to your body

When you’re pregnant it’s important to listen to your body. During your workout, pay attention to how you’re feeling and be prepared to take a break if needed. Aim for lighter intensity workouts that don’t put too much strain on your body. As your pregnancy progresses, opt for low-impact activities like walking or swimming that are easier on the joints and don’t involve any jarring of the body.

It’s also important to stay properly hydrated during your workout – drink plenty of water before and after you exercise. Additionally, keep an eye out for any warning signs like chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness or shortness of breath – if any of these happen alert a medical professional immediately.

Finally, avoid any physical activities that may put you at risk of injury while pregnant such as contact sports and high intensity workouts. Following these safety guidelines will help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable pregnancy experience.

Avoid contact sports

For the safety of both you and your baby, it is important to avoid contact sports during early pregnancy. Contact sports such as soccer, hockey, rugby and basketball involve physical contact with other players which can result in injury. This can put your baby at risk, as certain activities can cause abdominal trauma or bruises that could lead to miscarriage. Similarly, martial arts such as judo and karate involve kicks and punches which are too risky for a pregnant woman.

In addition to avoiding contact sports, it is also important to avoid anything that puts your body under too much strain or pressure when exercising during pregnancy. High-impact aerobic workouts such as kickboxing or running should be avoided due to the jarring impact they can have on your body. Instead, opt for low-impact exercises that do not require extreme physical effort such as walking, swimming and prenatal yoga.

Sample Workout

If you are pregnant and looking for a safe and effective workout routine, a sample workout can help you get started. This type of workout will address the most important changes in your body during early pregnancy and support your physical health during the development of your baby.

Let’s look at a sample workout that is suitable for early pregnancy:


Warm-up exercises are important during pregnancy because they help to prepare your body for whatever activity it will be engaging in. During early pregnancy, doctors recommend avoiding overly strenuous activities and high intensity exercise, but a light warm-up before any exercise is still beneficial.

For example, pregnant women can start their workout with a simple 5-minute walk around the block or some light stretching or yoga poses such as the cat/cow pose or gentle warrior pose. These warm-ups not only help to prepare the body for activity but also increase blood and oxygen flow to keep both mother and baby healthy during exercise.

The benefits of warm-up exercises include improved flexibility, better coordination, and increased muscular strength. Warm-ups should be performed before any form of physical activity during early pregnancy in order to ensure the safety of both mother and baby!


Cardio is an important part of a safe and effective early pregnancy workout. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga can all provide the necessary cardiovascular benefits while keeping pregnant women safe from potential injury.

As a general rule of thumb, pregnant women should keep their heart rate below 140 beats per minute (BPM) during physical activity. Consult with a doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best levels of intensity that are right for you.

In addition to low-impact cardio activities, core exercises such as planks and pelvic floor contractions can also be incorporated into your early pregnancy workout to help prepare your body for childbirth. Stay hydrated and listen to your body – if something doesn’t feel quite right, stop what you’re doing and take a break until you feel more comfortable.

Strength Training

Strength training is an important component of a balanced exercise routine during pregnancy. Strength training helps to strengthen the muscles, reduce back pain and fatigue, improve posture and stability, and even decrease labor time. For pregnant women who haven’t exercised in a while, it’s especially important to build up their strength through safe strength-training exercises.

When it comes to strength training during pregnancy, the key is to focus on form over weight. Women should focus on using their own body weight for resistance rather than lifting heavy weights. This may include exercises such as squats, lunges, core exercises, and push-ups. Women should also use proper technique to ensure that the joints are supported throughout each exercise; this includes keeping the spine in a neutral position at all times. By focusing on proper form before any added weight or repetitions, women will be able to safely strengthen their bodies while they prepare for birth.


The cool-down portion of the workout is an important part of any exercise program but it is especially important during pregnancy. It is the time when the body needs to rest, return to its pre-exercise state, and allow for proper adaptation to occur.

During a cool-down, it’s important to perform stretching as well as breathing exercises. Stretching helps to keep your muscles stretched and elongated in order to prevent future pain or injury. The breathing exercises help with proper oxygen flow while you are pregnant and also serve as a way to reduce stress levels.

Cooling down can last anywhere from 5–15 minutes; however, this depends on how hard you have exercised and how long the workout has been. Cool-down activities should include some light physical activity where your heart rate slowly decreases instead of dropping abruptly. This could include jogging at a slower pace or walking for several minutes until your heart rate decreases back down to normal levels.


Exercise during pregnancy is a great way to stay fit and healthy for both you and your baby. Evaluating your current fitness level before you start as well as talking to your doctor and/or certified fitness instructor will help you determine the best workout routine for you.

Low-impact activities such as walking, gentle yoga, and swimming can be beneficial for early pregnancy. Before beginning any exercise program, it is important to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider.

Takeaway message

The most important takeaway message from this article is that pregnant women should speak to their doctor before beginning any exercise routine. The doctor can provide specific recommendations on the type and intensity of exercise during pregnancy. Additionally, pregnant women should monitor themselves for any signs of discomfort, such as dizziness or shortness of breath, and stop when necessary.

Moderate intensity activities such as walking, swimming and stationary bike riding are good options for early pregnancy workouts. Additionally, low-impact exercises like Pilates and yoga offer a great way to keep fit throughout the entire pregnancy period.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Early Pregnancy

Q: What exercise is safe during early pregnancy?

A: During the first trimester, it’s generally safe to continue with your regular exercise routine. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga are recommended. Avoid activities that involve lying flat on your back or any contact sports.

Q: What should I avoid during early pregnancy?

A: Avoid activities that involve intense abdominal work, like crunches, sit-ups, and leg lifts, as well as activities that involve extreme bouncing or jumping. You should also avoid activities that may pose a risk of falling, such as horseback riding, skiing, or ice skating.

Q: Is it okay to continue running during early pregnancy?

A: It is not recommended to start running during early pregnancy, but if you were running before you became pregnant, you may be able to continue with a modified program that is low-impact and does not involve extreme bouncing or jumping. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

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