The Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnancy Workouts

Do's and Don'ts for Pregnancy Workouts


When it comes to staying fit and healthy during your pregnancy, it’s important to understand that the guidance varies depending on who you talk to and where you look for information.

As people learn more and more about the female body, even “sound” advice from a decade ago is often outdated or even potentially dangerous in some cases.

If you want safe guidance, and some tips that will help you to work out while pregnant then this is the guide for you.

The Do’s

Here’s what you want to do when pregnant…

1. Do Consider Current Guidelines

Sure, you do want to stay active during the day, but you should not put your body under too much stress and you shouldn’t take part in any contact sports either.

Current guidelines recommend exercising to a moderate intensity, keeping active and listening to your body. As your pregnancy progresses you will probably have to adapt and lower the pace of your workout intensity, it’s important to find the balance between keeping fit and active whilst not exhausting yourself.

As a guideline, activity to a moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day is recommended. What is classed as moderate will differ from person to person depending on your initial starting baseline of fitness. For some women this will be a brisk walk and for others it may be a light jog or strength training. If you didn’t run before becoming pregnant then we would advise against starting a running routine whilst pregnant for example.

Some less common or extreme activities, such scuba diving, should be avoided because your baby doesn’t have any protection against decompression sickness. You should also try to avoid working out at an altitude of 2,500m above sea level. The main reason for this is that you and your baby may experience altitude sickness.

It is always best to check with your healthcare provider first before undertaking an exercise regime, provided you do not have any contraindications then maintaining exercise during pregnancy is recommended and has lots of health benefits.

You may already have a personal trainer or this may be a time when you want to seek further support and advice from a personal trainer. We recommend ensuring that your trainer has an accredited pre and post natal qualification so you can ensure you are giving the right advice.

2. Do Stick with What You Know

You should be trying to exercise as a daily goal, but you should not be signing up for a 12-week program if you have never exercised before.

Maintaining your current fitness is what you should be aiming for, with the gradual goal of being able to increase your stamina.

Now is not the time for you to be beating your personal best record, nor is it the time for you to be trying to lift weights that are heavier than what you are capable of. Think about what your body loves to do and then stick with it.

Be confident with your form, and make sure that you hire a personal trainer. This is a great way for you to make sure that you are getting the fitness boost you are looking for.

3. Do Listen to your Body

Listening to your body is so important during pregnancy. You may need to adapt some exercises so that they become safe for you and your baby.

It can be difficult for you to sync your body and your mind in the early days because you may feel as though you are still adjusting.

That being said, a lot of women say that they are way more in tune with themselves when they fall pregnant. You will know in your gut when you are pushing yourself too hard and when you aren’t.

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond what you are capable of. If you can do this then you are bound to be on the right track with your fitness journey.

4. Do be Aware of Doming

Swerve exercises cause your abs to dome, around the middle. You need to look out for this shape because it may be that you are doing too much for your core.

Take the time to slow down and breathe, so you can engage your core. If you can, you also need to watch out for certain exercises.

Some of them put pressure on your core with no support from anywhere else. This can include ab rollouts, leg lifts, TRX or slider planks, and V-sits.

The Don’ts

Here’s what you don’t want to do when pregnant…

1. Don’t Give up On Exercise

Some women are surprised when they get told that they can work out during pregnancy. This is especially the case during the first trimester, as this is when expectorant mothers tend to worry about miscarriage the most.

Most miscarriages happen as the result of abnormalities in chromosomes. If you have a pregnancy without any complications then exercise doesn’t pose a risk at all. Exercise during pregnancy, whether you are walking, weight training or doing Pilates, is perfectly safe.

Labour is the equivalent of putting your body through a marathon, and if you can make sure that your body is as fit and as healthy as possible then you will be doing yourself a huge favor. It also means you will be better equipped for lugging a pram around and lifting your baby.

2. Don’t Exercise on your Back

Don’t do this when pregnant. It is so important that you don’t do any kind of exercise that forces you to lie on your back. This is especially the case if you are past 16 weeks pregnant.

If you do exercise when lying on your back then this will put pressure on your baby, and it could result in them coming to harm.

One way for you to work around this would be for you to focus on exercises that keep you upright, so you can feel confident knowing that you are benefitting your body and your baby.

3. Don’t Ignore Breathlessness

When you are pregnant, your heart rate might be higher than it was before you were pregnant. The main reason for this is that you are pumping blood to a tiny human as well.

For this reason, you may find that you end up getting out of breath more than before. This is perfectly fine, but you do need to make sure that you are giving yourself more rest breaks where possible.

Don’t ignore your body when you are out of breath, and take the time to listen to yourself properly, so you can make the right changes going forward.

4. Don’t Ignore Cardio

You do need to make sure that you do cardio. Studies have shown that you should be aiming for half an hour of exercise every day.

You should be able to hold a conversation and you should not feel lightheaded. Swimming is a fantastic low-impact exercise and it will support your weight as your stomach grows.

Running is great too, but don’t take it up if you have never really done it before. Another exercise is cycling.

Besides cardio, strength training is also a good way for you to carry the extra weight that you have during your pregnancy.

In particular, you should focus on your hamstrings, glutes, quads and lower back muscles. Squats are great for pregnant women as they can help you to build pelvic floor strength while encouraging blood circulation across your entire body.


Maintaining a safe and healthy fitness routine during pregnancy is crucial. While advice and information may vary, it’s essential to consider current guidelines and listen to your body.

Moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day is generally recommended, with adjustments as your pregnancy progresses. It’s important to avoid high-risk activities and consult with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing an exercise regimen.

Stick with activities you’re familiar with and enjoy, gradually increasing your stamina while avoiding excessive strain. Pay attention to your body’s signals, adapting exercises as needed and avoiding movements that cause your abs to dome.

Remember not to give up on exercise, as it can benefit both you and your baby. Avoid exercises that require lying on your back, and be mindful of breathlessness, taking necessary rest breaks.

Incorporating cardio and strength training, focusing on specific muscle groups, can support overall fitness and preparation for the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth.

By following these guidelines, you can maintain a safe and enjoyable fitness routine throughout your pregnancy journey.

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About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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