Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (2023)

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Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (1)

Congratulations! You've started your journey into motherhood (or maybe welcomed into the family!) and want to make the most of the next nine months. As you prepare for daycare, you may be wondering what you can do to take care of yourself during this time.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day or 150 minutes per week is recommended during pregnancy. But what does it mean?

Here we will discuss how, when and why to exercise during pregnancy.

(Video) Pregnancy Exercises First Trimester (safe for all trimesters)

The content of this blog corresponds to thatCurso NASM-WFS.

**Important NOTE:Before you start exercising during pregnancy, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Make sure to stay well hydrated during exercise, avoid exercising in hot or humid environments, and always pay attention to how you're feeling. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Also check out this podcast on prenatal and postnatal fitness to learn more!

cardio during pregnancy

Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (3)


Walking is an excellent exercise that can be done in any trimester. Walking with the right posture and at different speeds, from a brisk pace in the first trimester to a slightly slower pace in the third trimester, has many benefits that all mothers can benefit from.


Swimming is considered a safe form of cardiovascular exercise in all trimesters. Water supports your joints and is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Swimming also helps strengthen the muscles in your back, arms, and legs, helping you support your growing body on land.

Stationary Cycling/Elliptical Trainer-

Using a stationary bike is generally considered a safe cardiovascular option during pregnancy, as the risk of falls is significantly lower than when cycling. Other cardio machines like elliptical machines or archery machines are also considered safe forms of cardio because they put less stress on your joints than running.

prenatal aerobics

Thanks to the Internet, many different fitness classes are available digitally. A low-impact aerobics program for pregnancy can be a great way to incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your exercise routine.

Strength training during pregnancy


first trimesterStandard push-ups/knee push-upsif you used them regularly before pregnancy. In the second trimester, return to wall push-ups to reduce stress on your core and back.

How to do a wall push-up

Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (4)

• Stand in front of a wall and place your hands on the outside of the wall, shoulder-width apart.
• While tightening your abs and keeping your hips in line with your head, shoulders, and ankles, slowly bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the wall.
• Stop when your elbows reach a 90 degree angle and return the movement to the starting position.
• Repeat.


Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (5)

Squats help strengthen your legs, glutes, core, and pelvic floor muscles, all of which are essential during childbirth.

(Video) Pregnancy Exercises Second Trimester | 30 Minute Pregnancy Workout (Safe For All Trimesters)

Also see: Squats for pregnant women

How to do a squat

• Start with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider if that's more comfortable for your growing belly.
• With your hips in a neutral position, bend your knees and lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair.
• Nacarie until thighs are parallel to floor, keeping core tight and drawing navel toward spine.
• Push off your heels and return to the starting position. This is a repeat. Squats can be performed by slowly lowering your body onto a chair or bench and then transitioning to a squat without a chair or bench.

It's generally considered safe to continue barbell squats or barbell squats in the first trimester if you did them before pregnancy.

weight lifting during pregnancy

If you lifted weights before pregnancy, it's usually okay to continue and modify as your body changes.

Reduce the weight used, skip all back exercises, and listen to your body to safely lift weights during pregnancy.

Gym Ball Exercises

Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (6)
The stability ball is a great piece of equipment to incorporate into your prenatal exercise routine. The Stability Ball can be used alone or in conjunction with weights.

Sitting on the stability ball provides support and also forces you to activate your core muscles to stabilize the ball. Simple arm exercises can be performed while sitting on an exercise ball to build arm strength and strengthen your core and back muscles.

Stability Ball Arm Curl

• Place an exercise ball on the floor and sit on the exercise ball.
• Place your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart.
• Sit upright with hips neutral, head on chest and chest over hips. Engage your core by drawing your navel toward your spine.
• With a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up. Slowly bring your hand to your shoulder and bend your elbow. Pause at the top and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other hand.

Stability ball tricep curl

• Place an exercise ball on the floor and sit on the exercise ball.
• Place your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart.
• Sit upright with hips neutral, head on chest and chest over hips. Engage your core by drawing your navel toward your spine.

With a light weight in one hand, raise your hand above your head in a neutral position. Bend just your elbow, lower your hand back, straighten your triceps, and slowly return to the starting position. This is a repeat.

(Video) First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises | 30 Minute Pregnancy Workout First Trimester

Basic exercises for pregnancy

Core exercises definitely look a little different during pregnancy. After the first trimester, do no supine exercises, such as push-ups, push-ups, butterfly kicks, or similar exercises. Some basic exercises you need to consider below.

Also see: Progressive exercises for after pregnancy

Pelvic tilts with stability ball

• Sit on an exercise ball with your feet planted firmly on the floor and your hips in a neutral position.
• As you exhale, slowly tilt your hips forward, rounding your lower back. Make sure you initiate the movement from your core and not your legs. Inhale and return to the starting position. Pelvic tilts sure help build deep core muscles.

stabilizes Ball gait

• Place an exercise ball on the floor and sit on the exercise ball.
• Place your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart.
• Sit upright with hips neutral, head on chest and chest over hips. Engage your core by drawing your navel toward your spine.
• As you slowly exhale, lift one foot off the floor and lower it on the exhale. Repeat with the other foot. This is a repeat.

ironing and pregnancy

Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (7)

Decking is considered safe during the first trimester of pregnancy. In the second and third trimesters, planks can be modified to reduce stress on the abdominal muscles.

In the second trimester, you can continue to do planks with your hands raised on a bench, doing short intervals of 5-10 seconds each. If you experience abdominal tightness, bulging, or general discomfort, stop immediately.

Exercises to relieve back pain

Low back pain is a common complaint in pregnant women.

Strengthening your core, lower back, and glutes will help reduce lower back pain. Squats, pelvic tilts, and stability ball marches can help reduce lower back pain.

prenatal yoga

Safe pregnancy exercises for each trimester: Pregnancy exercises (8)

Prenatal yoga is a great way to keep moving during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga, hatha yoga, and restorative yoga practices are best suited for pregnant women. Hot yoga is not considered safe for pregnant women and should be avoided.

Talk to your instructor about necessary changes. Avoid all inversions, large turns and any supine position. As you practice yoga, pay attention to how you are feeling and always stop or change position if you feel tight.

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, exercises to avoid include contact sports or sports that could get you hit in the stomach, skydiving, any exercise that involves a risk of falling or diving.

(Video) Safe Exercises to Try During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy (Plus Tips and Precautions)

Additionally, once you hit your second trimester, it's important to avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back. As the uterus grows, it can block blood flow to vital organs while you are lying on your back.

Why exercise during pregnancy?

Women who exercise regularly during pregnancy reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes by 50% and their risk of developing preeclampsia by almost 40%. In addition, even moderate exercise reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 30%. (Di Paolo et al., 2019). Exercise during pregnancy can also improve overall fitness and recovery during the postpartum period. (ACOG 2019)

Pregnancy is an exciting time in every woman's life and it's a great time for a mother to focus on herself before the baby arrives. Regular exercise not only benefits the mother's physical health, but the endorphins released during pregnancy can also help improve the mother's mood and reduce stress.


There are so many physical changes during pregnancy that it can be intimidating to know where to begin. As long as you have medical clearance from your doctor, you can continue your current exercise program during the first trimester.

As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to change or downgrade some exercises to accommodate your pregnancy. Not exercising regularly anymore? Don't worry, there are many ways to start exercising safely. Training for a marathon or learning Olympic weightlifting? Maybe not, but there are many other ways, as this blog has shown you.


Artal, R (2003). Guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and after childbirth. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(1), 6-12.
sports during pregnancy. ACCOG. (2019).

Davenport, M. (sf). Effects of prenatal exercise on neonatal and infant outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Juhl, M., Kogevinas, M., Andersen, P.K., Andersen, A.-M. N, & Olsen, J (2010). Is Swimming Safe During Pregnancy? Epidemiology, 21(2), 253-258.

Paolo, JD, Montpetit-Huynh, S. and Vopni, K. (2019). fitness for pregnancy human kinetics.

Szumilewicz, A., & Santos-Rocha, R. (2019). Selection of exercises and adjustments during pregnancy. Exercise and Sport in Pregnancy, 231–308.


What is the safest exercise while pregnant? ›

Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices include swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike. Strength training is OK, too, as long as you stick to relatively low weights.

What pregnancy workouts are safe first trimester? ›

It is best to favor low impact exercises — especially walking, yoga, swimming, and water aerobics — during this time. Some slightly more vigorous exercises may also be appropriate in the first trimester. Examples of these include running, jogging, and moderate weightlifting.

Which trimester is exercise most important? ›

Third trimester exercises are some of the most important, helping to alleviate aches and pains while also prepping your body for labor. These exercises will open up the hips and pelvis, strengthening the muscles you'll be using during childbirth.

What exercises must do in pregnancy? ›

Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, and stationary cycling are top picks during all three trimesters.

What activities should a pregnant woman avoid? ›

Ice skating, rollerblading, rock climbing, and other activities during pregnancy that have higher risks of falling should be avoided during pregnancy. Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations about a hobby or activity that poses a risk of falling.

What are the best exercises for second trimester? ›

Choose low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga. Start with a low level of exertion and work up to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week. If you can, work with a trainer who has expertise in working out during pregnancy.

What exercises are not safe during first trimester? ›

Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma, including activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction. Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing. Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches. Bouncing while stretching.

Can I do squats while pregnant? ›

During pregnancy, squats are an excellent resistance exercise to maintain strength and range of motion in the hips, glutes, core, and pelvic floor muscles. When performed correctly, squats can help improve posture, and they have the potential to assist with the birthing process.

When should you not exercise during pregnancy? ›

Don't start exercising if:

You're having lots of Braxton Hicks 'practice' contractions. It's very hot. You have any bleeding. You have a deep pain in your stomach or pelvis.

Can exercise affect a baby in the womb? ›

Numerous studies have found that exercise during pregnancy, whether acute or chronic, is not harmful to the fetus and may benefit development in utero and after birth.

What month should I start exercising during pregnancy? ›

You can start exercising at any time during your pregnancy. Even if you're used to being active, you'll need to adapt your activities a bit as your bump gets bigger.


1. Pregnancy Exercises in the First Trimester - Exercise & Fitness
2. Exercises for Normal Delivery | Third Trimester Pregnancy Exercises | 3rd Trimester Exercises |
(Dr. Alisha Gupta)
3. Easy and Safe First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises
(FirstCry Parenting)
4. Pregnancy Exercise Third Trimester
(Pregnancy and Postpartum TV)
5. 30-Min Pregnancy Exercises - CHOOSE YOUR OWN MUSIC - First/Second/Third Trimester Safe
(Pregnancy and Postpartum TV)
6. Exercising During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy - Safe to Do Exercises & Precautionary Tips
(FirstCry Parenting)


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