Pregnant Exercises

July 14, 2009

Exercise during pregnancy can be a great means of achieving strength, flexibility and endurance gains helpful for labor and recovery. For those who are overweight or have not been involved in exercise programs previously, beginning an exercise program may not be advisable. Maintaining a healthy level of physical activity during pregnancy has, however been shown to benefit both mother and child. By involving yourself in a pregnancy fitness program, you can ease your pregnancy as well as your post pregnancy fitness.

In general, during pregnancy, elastin, relaxin, progesterone and estrogen levels increase. As pregnancy progresses, body mass, stress to joints and risk of injury also increases. It is recommended to avoid high impact and jarring activities such as jumping and jogging. Due to the bodyâs constant change of center of gravity, it is also recommended to avoid balancing exercises and stressful knee exercises such as lunges and squats. To maintain aerobic capability and endurance, nonweight bearing activities such as swimming and cycling are highly recommended.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends:

Maintain maternal heart rate that does not exceed 140 beats per minute
Exercise should not be performed in the supine position after the fourth month of exercise
Maternal core temperature should not exceed 38 degrees Celsius
Strenuous exercise should not be done for more than 15 minutes
A woman should not exercise to exhaustion and should pay attention to her perceived exertion.
Women should avoid supine exercise and standing still for extended periods of time after the first three months

Some good exercises for maintaining fitness during pregnancy are as follows:

Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. It is recommended to keep the intensity to a moderate level. Perform one to two sets of 8- 15 repetitions.


Start slowly, using light weights. By keeping the elbows close to your ribs and thumbs pointed up, lift your weights from your hips to shoulder height. To help keep the blood flowing properly throughout the body, add a step touch from side-to-side as you curl. Works the lateral muscles in the leg while working the bicep muscles in the front of the arm.


Keep the same foot pattern, but change the direction to one leg stepping then back. Start with the arms down and feet together. As the right leg steps forward, gently lift the elbows up and back. Keep the weights close to the body all the way up to the shoulders, ending in a ÎVâ with your elbows by your ears and give your shoulder blades a squeeze as if you were going to crack a nut between them. Works the shoulder and upper trapezius.


With the elbows held high behind you and your pinky fingers pointing upward, gently straighten and bend the arms. Think of keeping your shoulder blades squeezing together and your elbows held high. If you would like movement, step forward and lift alternating knees. Make sure to keep the lower abdominals in a slight contraction, exhale (breathe out) as the knees come up, and only lift the knee to below a 90 degree angle. Works the abdominals, hip flexors and tricep muscle groups.

If you are looking for more ways to maintain your fitness level during pregnancy, Victoriaâs POWERSHAPING II shows you many other exercises that are easy to adapt to a pregnancy fitness program. Best of luck to you two!

Make sure to consult with your physician.

Maternal cardiovascular dynamics follow normal response patterns
Non weight bearing exercises such as cycling and swimming and encouraged. Because heat dissipation, it is important to adequately replace fluids and wear appropriate clothing. Caloric intake should be adequate to meet both the extra needs of pregnancy and increased exercise.

Pregnancy offers no greater physiologic stress to the mother during moderate exercise other than that provided by the additional weight gain and possible encumbrance of fetal tissue as body mass increases and pregnancy progresses, the increase in maternal body mass adds significantly to exercise effort with weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, and stair climbing.

About the Author:

Victoria Johnson is the nation’s premier Health & Fitness and Wealth & Spirit “activist.” Victoria is the owner and president of Victoria Johnson Intl., a personal training, consulting, marketing and management company. She is not only a fitness guru, she’s a born and bred entrepreneur. She believes everyone should be healthy and prosperous. She has produced and starred in over 24 award-winning exercise and dance fitness DVD’s and videos, produced and starred in her own television show entitled “Victoria’s Body Shoppe” and most recently authored her third book, Body Revival, Lose Weight, Feel Great and Pump Up Your Faith! 


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