Sunday 29th of May 2022

Can I go to the gym if I'm pregnant?

What pregnant women need to know about training

See the answers to all the questions related to fitness and pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy lifts the spirits and prepares the body for the upcoming birth. Every pregnancy is different, so a doctor’s consultation is mandatory before starting any training regimen.

There are various risk factors such as bleeding, risk of premature birth, low placenta and others that require avoiding exercise. However, in cases where the pregnancy is normal, training is not only safe, but even very useful.

What are the benefits of training during pregnancy?

The type of training and exercises during pregnancy depend mainly on the physical preparation of the woman, the trimester in which she is and how she feels. Their advantage is that they can:

* minimize muscle pain, discomfort and constipation

* to reduce the load on the joints

* to improve sleep

* reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and depression

* can affect for faster and easier birth without complications

Read more: What do we need to know about muscle cramps?

The development of good fitness habits during pregnancy also guarantees faster recovery of the body after birth. Exercise also supports the production of endorphins (the hormone of happiness), which in turn reduces stress and frequent mood swings.

Can exercise harm the baby?

There is an old myth that heavy training can harm or harm a baby. As a result, many women who train in early pregnancy worry about miscarriage. In fact, there is no evidence that exercise can cause abortion. However, in early pregnancy, an increase in body temperature can harm the embryo, so it is important to:

* the body should be hydrated

* not to train outside when it is very hot

*  do not increase the pulse too much to avoid shortness of breath

Training will not harm the baby, but you will probably get tired much faster than before. This is due to the fact that the volume of blood doubles during pregnancy and the heart has to work 50% more to push this blood – including it circulating around the placenta, which is an additional organ.

Read more: How often and how to train?

You will probably catch your breath faster during pregnancy. However, this does not mean that you are out of shape. In fact, during pregnancy the body needs and absorbs 20-25% more air to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood (and in the baby’s blood). Therefore, rapid breathing means that the body adapts exactly as it should.

On the other hand, the sense of balance decreases due to sagging joints and a change in the center of gravity as the pregnancy progresses. In order to avoid possible injuries, it is necessary for the exercises to be in accordance with the condition.

What are the best exercises during pregnancy?

For the needs of training expectant mothers, prenatal classes have been created that offer specially modified exercises for pregnant women. They are a great choice for both training and talking to other mothers.

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Every pregnant woman can continue with her normal workouts, while monitoring her condition, reducing the intensity of exercise and avoiding sudden movements. It is mandatory to do the exercises under the supervision of an instructor who will monitor the correct performance and load.


Yoga during pregnancy not only strengthens the body and increases flexibility, but through its gentle movements and meditation, brings a sense of calm. In the second half of pregnancy, excessive twisting, movements that strain the abdomen, exercises that require prolonged lying on your back or abdomen, and inversions such as head or shoulder posture should be avoided.

Read more: How can yoga heal our physical (and spiritual) wounds?

Water aerobics

Not coincidentally, this is one of the preferred exercises in the third trimester – there is no danger of falling and overheating, the water brings a feeling of lightness and relieves tension in the joints. It is only necessary to wear aqua shoes to prevent possible slipping, stepping on the bottom of the pool.

Power exercises

Very often pregnant women avoid weight training for fear of injury or miscarriage. There is indeed a risk, but only when the exercises are performed incorrectly or with excessive weights. During pregnancy, levels of the hormone relaxin, which relaxes tissues to facilitate childbirth, increase. Therefore, weight overload is dangerous for both the mother and the fetus.

When performed correctly, however, strength exercises promote muscle tightening and function throughout the body and improve mobility. This is important both during pregnancy and at birth, and after. Strength training can be on a machine, with added weights or with your own weight.

Read more: Weight training for women: myths and reality


There is a rule that states: “If you trained actively before pregnancy, stay active. If you haven’t – now is a great time to start.

It is appropriate to use an exercise bike, treadmill and cross trainer. For beginners, low-intensity exercise such as sports walking, dancing, swimming or just a 30-minute walk 3 times a week is recommended.

Which exercises are suitable for different periods of pregnancy?

First trimester


The changes that occur in a woman’s body begin to be felt during the first trimester of pregnancy. They are not visible, but can lead to unpleasant ailments such as:

* acids

* vomiting

* dizziness

* stomach upsets

* more frequent fatigue, due to which there is a need for more rest

Physical activity, if the condition allows, can relieve all symptoms, but the main thing to watch out for during this period is to keep all exercises in line with the more limited energy and to avoid those at risk of falling. . It is best to tell your doctor exactly what exercises you are doing and discuss with him if you want to include something new. This rule applies to every moment of pregnancy.

Lifting weights with low intensity

If you were among the training women before your pregnancy and your training included weightlifting, you can safely continue with them in the first trimester, as well as until the very end, but in moderation and with significantly less weights. However, in case you are not, some experts recommend not to start with weights or they should be very moderate.

Among the main benefits of these workouts are improved strength and flexibility, which helps the body adapt to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, as well as staying fit. This is important not so much for appearance, but for the fact that gaining up to 12 kilograms is considered a healthy norm. Exercises with both free weights and machines are suitable, except for those that require lying on your back, lifting weights over the abdomen and lifting too heavy weights.

Weightlifting, chest press exercises on a machine in a sitting position, leg press, biceps and triceps – all can be used during the first trimester, and strength training should not be more than twice a week.

Squats and lunges

Squats and seizures are a very good way to improve strength in the lower body, including the groin, which helps reduce pain during childbirth. They are among the main ones that strengthen and shape the calves, back thigh muscles and quadriceps. Their performance is with open legs and knees, pointing to the side, not gathered. Between 10 and 15 repetitions at least 3 times a week are recommended. Attacks can also be done with weights.

Yoga and Pilates

You can start with specially modified yoga exercises for pregnant women and Pilates from the very beginning. If yoga is recommended to be at least 30 minutes a week, and if possible daily, then Pilates should be limited to once a week.

Jogging and spinning

Jogging is one of the safest and recommended ways to move during the first trimester of pregnancy, and as it progresses, it can be replaced by brisk walking. It helps to strengthen and improve endurance and regulates blood circulation.

For even greater safety, you can run on a treadmill in the gym, as the risk of injury and falling there is the lowest. The recommended time is no more than 30 minutes, 3 times a week, but if you have at least a little experience before that.

Spinning is also a good option for aerobic exercise in the first trimester because it is an intense exercise, but with low impact. It is recommended that the sessions be no more than an hour a week.


A great way to tone your body in early pregnancy and relieve tension is by swimming. It is also a good cardio workout, it is highly effective and does not strain the joints. 4 sessions per week, lasting no more than 30 minutes, are recommended.

Second trimester


All exercises in the first trimester can be performed in the second, but with less intensity, especially for jogging and spinning. When doing strength exercises, it is good to avoid free weights and use machines, as they control the movements and the risk of injuries is lower. Exercises with resistant strips are also recommended.

Example training for the second trimester:

Squats – 15 repetitions

Kneeling push-ups – 10 repetitions (place a chair in front of you, kneel and place your arms outstretched on the chair, slightly wider than the shoulders. The body should have a straight back and slightly tilted forward From this position, lower the torso forward so that the arms form two 90-degree angles. Push back to the starting position)

Lifting dumbbells to the side when leaning forward – 12 repetitions (stand with legs spread shoulder-width apart and squat. Bend the torso forward so that the body forms 90 degrees. Take dumbbells with a weight appropriate to your level and condition, but not more than 5 kg. Stretch your arms down and start lifting them vertically upwards so that they form 90 degrees and your elbows go behind your back)

Biceps flexion – 12 repetitions

Repeat the exercises for 7 minutes, then take a break of 90 seconds and move on to the second series of exercises:

Squats – 15 repetitions

Commando – 16 repetitions (get on your knees, lower your torso forward and place your forearms tightly on the training mat. From this position, place the palm of your left hand so that you stand on it, and then do the same with your right palm, so that you stretch both arms, then lower your left forearm again, followed by your right.)

Exercise for triceps on a chair – 10 repetitions (sit on the edge of the chair and place your palms close to the buttocks. Stretch your arms and with your palms close to the seat of the chair, move your buttocks forward. as far down as possible. From this position, pull only with your hands up. Repeat the exercise 10 times)

Lateral lifting of dumbbells – 10 repetitions

Perform these exercises again for 7 minutes.

Third trimester


Exercise and performing various exercises during the third trimester of pregnancy help the woman to most actively prepare for the impending birth. They also strengthen the muscles, which facilitates the birth itself.

And in the third semester, squats occupy one of the leading positions among the exercises that are very suitable. Since your abdomen will already be quite large and heavy, during this period it is good to perform the squats while holding on to the back of a chair or other object, so that you have some support and stability. Hold in a squat for about 20 seconds, then stand up and repeat as many times as you can without getting tired. If you feel pain – stop.

Swimming and other water exercises are also highly recommended, because with them you can relax the tension in your body and especially in the back and waist. One of the exercises you can do is “scissors” – stand with your back against the wall of the pool, place your elbows on top of the wall and use them to lift your body and legs so that it forms the letter L. From this position, start to dissolve the legs in the letter V. Repeat 10-12 times and rest.

The dog-cat exercise is easy to perform for women in advanced pregnancy and is very effective in relieving back pain and tightening of the abdominal muscles. Stand on 4 “legs” with legs bent at the knees and arms outstretched. Inhale and bend your back up (cat pose), then exhale, relaxing it with a curve at the waist (dog pose).

Lifting the arms laterally with or without dumbbells is a very good exercise for moving the upper body and arms. However, if you use dumbbells, their weight should not exceed 1-2 kilograms.

Waiting for stairs is a great cardio exercise that tightens the muscles of the thighs, buttocks and pelvic floor at the same time. Easy, safe and highly recommended to implement.

Which exercises to avoid?

Contact sports (football, basketball, martial arts) as well as sports involving bouncing or abrupt movements and uneven surfaces (riding, diving, skiing) should be avoided during pregnancy. Abdominal exercises are also contraindicated because they can restrict blood flow to the fetus. It is desirable to limit training that requires prolonged standing or lying on your back, because the former load the waist and joints, and the latter – reduce blood flow to the body.

Read more: Is it dangerous to squat with knee pain and / or cracking while squatting? (Video)

* What to watch for during training?

* Expectant mothers should watch for symptoms of potential problems.

* Vaginal bleeding

* Abdominal pain

* Concentrations

* Oxygen deficiency

* Dizziness

* Excessive headache

Also watch for signs of dehydration, because it can lead to premature contractions and in the worst case scenario – to premature birth. It is recommended to take an average of 8-9 glasses of water a day, and fluids should be adjusted according to the intensity and duration of training.

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