The 5 Best Workouts To Do While Pregnant

Being a gym rat and health nut these days can be conflicting for woman who is pregnant. Apps do not tell you if your favorite new foods like kombucha or pressed juice are ok to drink. Some doctors are even still telling patients to keep their heart rates under 140, but you saw my Instagrams and are wondering how can she run a half marathon at 29 weeks pregnant then?

I’m not a medical professional and you should consult with your physician before exercising while pregnant but most physicians are going to tell you to, “Listen to your body.” That is totally not helpful if you’re like me. If I knew how to listen to my body, I probably wouldn’t eat until I felt sick when I dine at my favorite restaurants.

My girlfriends and readers have been asking me similar questions since I got pregnant and probably even more so since I had Tommy; What exercises can I do? What should I avoid? Is it ok to lift this or run that? Today’s new video shares the 5 best exercises pregnant women can do for the health of their babies as well as their own.

Benefits for you include mood boosting hormones, energy, comfort and a very slight reduction in weight gain. Watch the video to see what other benefits the baby gets from your sweat sessions as well as finding out the 5 best workouts (in my opinion of course):

I didn’t include running in the video above because I don’t think it’s for everyone and I don’t think it’s necessarily the best for you unless it’s what you love and brings you happiness. For me, it brought joy but I would have switched to indoor cycling much sooner had I not agreed to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon during my third trimester.

You CAN run up until you go in labor as long as it feels ok and your heart rate is low enough that you can have a conversation. People like me who were in shape prior to getting pregnant can continue to do what they were doing fitness wise.

Things that I had to stop doing right away were HIIT workouts with heavy weights and getting my heart rate higher than 170.

Once I began to show a little bit, I had to stop doing strength exercises on my stomach and twisting at my midsection. If you love yoga but don’t want to tell your teacher you’re knocked up before your friends, either don’t go (I did this) or skip the twisting poses like in chair and warrior.

I was able to do exercises on my back up until almost mid second trimester. You’ll know when to stop because it will feel uncomfortable.

There is a ton of info on diastasis recti and what exercises cause it. I found it all to be conflicting. I stopped doing crunches or seated ab work around 12 weeks. I did continue to do planks. If you do not have a strong core to begin with however, once your baby is of actual weight (2+ lbs), you may want to stop doing this. I ignored this. I did a plank for a minute around Christmas time – Tommy came Jan 12th – and didn’t develop a DR.

I had a woman who was in her third trimester doing crunches in one of my classes once. I told her to do a different move instead and she told me that her doctor said she could do the crunches. I’m not going to argue with a student’s doctor. I share this because literally there is so much conflicting advice that doctors and postnatal exercise specialists don’t agree.

I can only share what I did and how it worked for me. My abs were really strong at the time I got pregnant thanks to filming all the SFit Gym videos.

If you are curious about specifically what workouts I did while pregnant, you can read up on my pregnancy updates. I shared my eats and workouts most weeks. I didn’t announce I was pregnant until I was 20 weeks along which is why these start so late.

Pregnancy Updates:

I remember googling, “Running 3rd Trimester” and finding very few results from professionals. I found personal accounts and those are what helped so I hope in sharing my experience, you might feel better about continuing your workouts!

Have something to share/add? Leave a comment below.

The 5 Best Workouts To Do While Pregnant

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  • amy

    HI Sarah! I love your blog and this article….im currently pregnant right now….15 weeks so I love reading all your pregnancy advise. I have spoke to two dr’s and they had both said the same…whatever your comfortable with you should do! I also have been working out for years so im not doing anything new in my workout routine. He just said stay hydrated, and keep doing what im doing! so far I haven’t changed anything in my workouts, but im sure as I get further along ill have no choice 🙂

    • Sarah

      Congrats -- this article is for people exactly like you. Eventually you will and you’ll know! I kept wondering when I should stop doing supermans and I just knew one day 🙂

  • shridevi

    Hi Sarah,

    I had question on strength training during pregnancy. I know its hard to answer on specifics. I(27 weeks pregnant) lift minimal weights maximum upto 15 pounds. is that ok? Earlier I used to lift upto 30pounds.


    • Sarah

      I lifted 15 Dumbbells with each arm. I did the leg press machine with heavier though. Don’t remember the exact weight but I just stuck with what I felt confident doing.

  • Mal Emswiler

    I’m nearly 35 weeks and ran and did strength training and Pilates until 20 weeks when I threw out my back. Since, I have been recumbent biking and doing Suzanne Bowen’s Slim & Toned Prenatal DVD daily. I also go to prenatal yoga weekly.

  • Rebecca Dawkins

    Sara this is so inspiring. I am not pregnant but my sister is 6 months pregnant. She loves going to gym but her in laws are not allowing her to continue gyming. So, today I am going to share this with them. Thanks for sharing.

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