5 Safe Exercises During Pregnancy

June 2018

The best pregnancy exercises to keep you feeling healthy and strong.

Swimming is a safe exercise for pregnant women.

Exercise during pregnancy can lead to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean section. Incorporating safe movement can also help reduce back pain, alleviate constipation, promote healthy weight gain, and strengthen your heart and blood vessels. Many women also find that staying fit while pregnant makes it easier to get their body back after the baby is born.

If you’re expecting and you’d like to exercise throughout your pregnancy, check with your OB/GYN before beginning or continuing an exercise regimen. Athletes accustomed to vigorous training before pregnancy may be able to continue a higher workout level than non-athletes while certain types of conditions, such as heart and lung diseases, anemia, preeclampsia, and other preterm labor risk factors may warrant abstaining or modifying exercises to avoid an increased threat of complications.

If your doctor clears you for workouts, consider the following safe exercises during pregnancy:

  1. Swimming or water workouts
  2. Modified yoga
  3. Indoor cycling
  4. Gentle weight training
  5. Walking

Continue reading to discover what you need to know about exercising while pregnant.

1. Swimming or water workouts

Swimming or other water workouts, like water aerobics, are great ways to exercise during pregnancy without putting stress on your body. Thanks to the buoyancy of the water, your weight is supported to help you avoid muscle strain and injury. Spending time in the pool can also relieve ankle and foot swelling, tone your body, and promote a burst of feel-good endorphins. Look for low-impact classes led by certified aerobics instructors who are specially trained to modify instructions for pregnant women. As an added precaution, be extra careful when walking on slippery surfaces around the pool, step or slide into the water rather than jumping in, and avoid holding your breath so your baby can receive the oxygen they need.

Find city aquatic facilities and programs in Beaver Dam here.

2. Modified yoga

Modified yoga or prenatal yoga, can help you stretch and relax during your pregnancy while improving flexibility, easing digestion, and reducing stress. Opt for a balance of calming poses, such as Lotus and Bound Angle pose, and active poses, such as Extended Triangle and Warrior II, which can help stretch your hips. Refrain from overextending, jumping, twisting your belly, or standing still or lying flat on your back for extended periods, especially after your first trimester.

Check out 5 yoga moves that may help you strengthen your body for birth.

3. Indoor cycling

Indoor cycling, or spinning, on a stationary bike is an excellent way for you to boost your heart rate without causing any stress on your joints. It’s a safer option than standard bicycles that may test your balance and put you at risk for falls. Stationary bikes also allow you to raise your handlebars as your belly grows so you feel more comfortable. Be sure to talk to your OB/GYN about seated-only rides and when it’s best to dial down to a mild or moderate intensity.

4. Gentle weight training

If you lifted weights before you became pregnant, you might be able to continue doing so throughout your pregnancy – but at a gentler level. Be sure to stick to light weights and avoid any routines that require you to lie flat on your back. If you’re experienced, gentle weight training exercises during pregnancy can help strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and keep you toned before and after delivery.

Check out this sample strength training routine for pregnancy here.

5. Walking

Walking is a simple yet effective low-impact exercise for pregnant women that can be beneficial in all stages of pregnancy. If you’re feeling up to it, walk briskly a few times a week to give your entire body a workout without putting pressure on your joints and muscles. As your baby grows, remain aware of your changed sense of balance and listen to your body to determine the duration of your walks. Aim to walk in cooler temperatures to avoid over-heating that can be dangerous for you and your baby.

Experts recommend getting about 2-1/2 hours of exercise each week during and after pregnancy. Spread this time throughout the week in shorter bursts of 10-20-minute increments for the best benefit.

Look to local fitness centers or the YMCA of Dodge County to get started on your way to cultivating a fit and healthy pregnancy. As with any exercise, it’s best to proceed with caution – especially when you’re expecting. If you notice any bleeding, dizziness, breathing challenges, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, tightness in your stomach, or leaking, you should stop exercising immediately and visit a doctor.

For more information on exercising while pregnant, contact us online or call us at 920-885-6090 to schedule an appointment with our doctors and women’s health team today.

Wondering how to keep up your exercise routine after your baby is born? Check out these safe, low-impact mommy-and-me workout ideas.


This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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