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6 Safe Pregnancy Exercises

6 Safe Pregnancy Exercises

When it comes to exercise, it’s not always clear what’s considered safe and what’s not. Especially when pregnant. With your doctor’s guidance, here are six safe pregnancy exercises for you to try.

Medically reviewed by a board certified OB/GYN

Exercise during pregnancy can be great for moms‐to‐be. So, if you’re one of those women who wants to exercise but worries that it could hurt your baby during pregnancy, we’ve got six options to consider. Once you have your doctor’s OK, you should be able to try these pregnancy exercises at home.

1. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Pregnancy Leg Lifts

Leg lifts are a good way to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. However, during pregnancy, leg lifts should be modified after 20 weeks to avoid lying on your back.

  • Get on your hands and knees with your arms locked and your hands placed directly under your shoulders
  • Raise your left knee and straighten your leg behind you until it’s parallel to the floor
  • Bend your leg and lower your knee to the floor; repeat with your right leg
  • Work up to 10 reps on each side

2. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: V‐sits

Modified core and abdominal‐strengthening routines can be smart exercises during pregnancy.

  • Sit on a BOSU ball—a dome-shaped ball with a flat bottom. Your feet should be firmly on the ground, arms straight in front of you
  • Slowly lean back until you feel your abdominal muscles contract
  • Hold for a few seconds then return to the starting position
  • Slowly work up to 10 reps

3. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts will strengthen your abdominal muscles and even help minimize back pain during labor.

  • On your hands and knees, keep your head level with your back
  • Pull in your stomach, pushing up with your back like you’re making a camel hump
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, then relax without letting your stomach muscles sag
  • Repeat three to five times, building to 10 reps

4. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Squats and Wall Slides

  • Stand with your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping your back supported, bend your knees slowly as if about to sit down, rest your hands on your legs for balance. Your knees shouldn’t extend over your toes
  • Hold that semi-seated position for a few seconds, then slide back up
  • Repeat three to five times, building to 10 reps

5. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Kegel Exercises

These exercises strengthen your pelvic muscles and will come in handy when it’s time to push during delivery. They can also help you avoid hemorrhoids and losing bladder control after delivery. Plus, they’re so discreet that you can do them while working at your desk or watching TV.

  • Pretend you're trying to stop yourself from urinating by tightening the muscles around the vagina and rectum
  • Hold for five seconds, then relax; work up to 10-second squeezes
  • Repeat 20–30 times in a row

6. Safe Pregnancy Exercises: Prenatal Core Workouts

You might already be strengthening your core without realizing it. Swimming, walking, stationary biking, and prenatal yoga work your abdominal muscles. These workouts don’t require a lot of balance and coordination, which can get thrown off as your belly grows and your center of gravity changes.

A Few Gentle Exercise Reminders

  • Listen to your body. While it’s good to strengthen your core, being too aggressive can result in diastasis recti, which is the separation of the abdominal muscles, possibly causing a bulge in your abdomen
  • Stop if you feel dizzy, short of breath, or experience any pain
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay away from exercises that risk stomach injury or cause you to lose your balance
  • You should be able to talk, breathe, or sing during your workout. This is a good way to determine what is a safe level of exertion for you while pregnant
  • Make modifications to accommodate your pregnancy 
  • Go slow. Pregnancy hormones make your ligaments more pliable, which can increase the risk of injury
  • If you’re unsure how to do a move correctly, ask a fitness professional for help
  • Yoga is an excellent way to stretch and strengthen during pregnancy but avoid hot yoga. Try to maintain your body temperature at 98.6ºF, which is best for your baby’s development and healthy growth
  • Be sure to eat a balanced diet, especially when doing more exercise during pregnancy

Once you’ve gotten the OK from your doctor, you can enjoy exercise successfully during your pregnancy. Or learn more about exercise during pregnancy. Now… go lift those legs! Stretch those arms!

All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.