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Top 5 Pregnancy Workouts

Katlyn Joy | 7, August 2012


You may want to eat for two and rest for the next nine months, but pregnancy is no time to get lazy. Exercising will help reduce your risk for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, and will also help you bounce back and back into your skinny jeans sooner after birth. Working out will also help you to ease the discomforts of pregnancy such as swelling, back aches and cramps. Another bonus: being in good shape will enable you to endure the marathon of labor and delivery better and with more ease.

Before beginning any workout be sure and get the green light from your health care provider. While exercise is great for almost any pregnant woman, there are some limits to what you should do, and there are some health situations that require you to sit it out, or at least reduce or watch your activity carefully.

Reasons to limit or restrict exercise include cardiac issues or disease, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, placenta problems or other unexplained bleeding, and high risk pregnancies. If you fall into one of these categories, you may still find a safe alternative to the usual pregnancy workouts, just be certain to know what's safe and when to say when.

Top 5 Recommended Work Outs for Pregnant Women

1. Walking. Perhaps the best all round choice for expectant moms, walking is convenient as you may do it indoors at a mall or gym, or through the local park or down the street. You can enjoy the benefits of changing the scenery or getting some fresh air, and you can continue with the walking workout after baby arrives as well. By walking at a nice clip, you can get the cardio you need and work out without risking damage to your joints. Remember, pregnant women have overly flexible joints due to hormonal changes and can easily strain beyond where they should.

2. Swimming or pool workouts. Swimming lacks the ease of accessibilty of walking, but provides even better protection for your joints. You can't get lower impact than working out in water.

3. Stationary bike. You can ride a regular bike until you begin to get unwieldy on two wheels, then most doctors will advise you to switch to stationary bikes. The stationary bike provides for the cardio aspect of a workout and will help strengthen those muscles which you'll be happy for during labor.

4. Yoga. Yoga is a great workout for pregnancy, as you will gently stretch muscles while strengthening them, and you get the added bonus of developing a good posture and calmer demeanor. Yoga positions can be perfect practice for giving birth and yoga breathing and focus will aid in the mental prep for birth as well.

5. Strength training and calisthenics. Lifting weights is fine in pregnancy as long as you use some common sense, such as limiting the weight used and having a spotter. Also you need to consider safety in equipment, such as perhaps using a machine that doesn't require you to handle free weights for instance. Calisthenic exercises can help you stay limber and toned, which will aid you in labor and in regaining your figure later.

Most Popular Pregnancy Workout DVDs

1. Prenatal Yoga. Starring Shiva Rea. This DVD covers all the important goals such as strength, flexibility, energy, stamina, and balance. The workouts are divided into trimesters as well.

2. Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout. Who better than a pregnant Olympian to guide expectant moms through customized workouts?

3. 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates. This DVD features Lizbeth Garcia and features 5 different 10 minute workouts. A cool bonus feature is a flat belly postnatal workout.

4. The Perfect Pregnancy Workout. Volume 1. Karyne Steben, of Cirque de Soleil fame, leads viewers through a sculpting workout that boosts strength and flexibility.

5. Prenatal Fitness. Deluxe 3 DVD set. This set includes prenatal yoga, Pilates and strength training. This DVD contains in all 40 workouts that are customizable by trimester.

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Alice Oct 11, 2012 11:28:55 AM ET

I've been doing yoga with a friend since I found out I was expecting (5 months ago!) and I've been really enjoying it; I think it's given me a lot of energy! I really struggled to find stuff to wear once my bump started to show though, everything rode up and left me feeling a bit exposed! If other mums are struggling I would really recommend clothes from this site- So comfy and perfect for yoga as they support your bump! Hope this helps other mums!xxx

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