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Working Out While Pregnant: Do’s and Dont’s | Fit Mama in 30

Are you confused by the amount of misinformation on working out while pregnant? We feel you, mama! From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, loved ones and acquaintances all seem to pop up with an opinion on how to treat your body during this time – and while some of it is comforting, it’s also confusing!

The #1 question we get from clients is – can I work out while pregnant? We are here to tell you – ABSOLUTELY and here’s why: working out while pregnant is not only safe, but beneficial for you and your baby.

Can I Workout While Pregnant?

 Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are some of the most high-stress, athletic events you will ever go through. Recent research shows that women who exercise, specifically strength train, have an overall healthier pregnancy, better labor and delivery outcomes. (Perales, Artal, & Lucia, 2017). One large study found the following benefits from weight-bearing exercise performed throughout pregnancy (Clapp, 1998):

    • 75% reduction in maternal exhaustion.
    • 75% reduction in need for forceps or c-section.
    • 50% decrease in need for oxytocin.
    • 50% decrease in need for medical intervention due to fetal heart-rate abnormalities.
    • 30% reduction in the active labor phase.


Guidelines for Working Out During Each Stage of Pregnancy

We are breaking it down for you. No matter what trimester you are in, we are providing answers to your burning questions.

 Working Out in Early Pregnancy / First Trimester

Early pregnancy can be brutal for some women as they fight morning sickness, are learning about their ever-changing body, and starting to prepare for motherhood. 

Did you know that working out during your first trimester can help curb morning sickness?

When it comes to exercising in your first trimester, you can pretty much keep up with everything you were doing prior to pregnancy, until a noticeable baby bump starts to appear. Most women find the main hurdle of exercising during their first trimester is lack of energy, morning sickness and nausea, which can happen at any time of the day and triggered by different things.

Here are some ways to help combat nausea during your first trimester.


    • Drink plenty of fluids ~3L/day (more if you are exercising).
    • Drinking peppermint tea.
    • Adding ginger to smoothies and meals.
    • Consume smaller more frequent meals.
    • Consume cold foods like smoothies, popsicles, shakes, etc.
    • Consume bland foods like bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast.


    • Eat for two!  You do not need to increase your caloric intake during the first trimester, unless directed to do so by your doctor.
    • Think that you need to workout an hour/day. Even 10 minutes a day of strength training is a great start.

 Working Out Mid Pregnancy / Second Trimester

A lot of women start to have more energy and feel better by the second trimester! This trimester is when you have to start modifying exercises that can cause extra intra-abdominal pressure such as push-ups, and planks. Both of these moves should be completed on the knees or at an incline to reduce pressure and prevent a worse abdominal separation called diastasis recti. In the second trimester, you really want to focus on proper weight training to help build strength to take on the demands of labor and delivery. Even if you have never exercised or lifted a set of weights a day in your life, it is never too late. Our program takes you through a progression model that helps you identify where you are at, and how to progress to train safely and effectively.


    • Continue to build strength by increasing the weight you are lifting and decreasing the number of reps.
    • Continue to practice good fundamentals like core breathing and pelvic floor work.
    • Start to modify moves like push-ups and planks even if you are capable of performing them.


    • Be afraid to begin working out. It is never too late to start!
    • Use Heart Rate to gage intensity level, use Rate of Perceived Exertion

Working Out to Prepare for Labor / Third Trimester

While we do not encourage training by trimester, we do switch our focus in the third trimester to prepare for labor. In this stage we focus on physically and mentally preparing you for your big day! Labor-Intensive Interval Training (LIIT) does just that. It is similar to HIIT in that you perform a series of work intervals with active/productive rest periods in between. In this stage we are mimicking the pattern of contractions to help your body physically and mentally cope with labor.


  •  Increase your reps and decrease your weight used during 2nd trimester training
  • Start with moderate intensity exercise with longer rest periods and progress to higher intensity with shorter rest
  • Select a strength move that challenges the cardio-respiratory system and pair it with a patterned breathing active rest period
  • Continue to follow your pregnancy fitness plan, now is not the time to start taking it easy


  • Use Heart Rate to gage intensity level, use Rate of Perceived Exertion
  • Take it easy! Unless you Dr. tells you to stop or scale back workouts this is the time to really train your body for the physical event you are about to go through
  • Forget about the basics.  Maintaining neutral alignment during this stage is so important to preventing injury

Looking for a Pregnancy-Safe Workout Program?

Pregnancy, labor and motherhood are physically demanding…so let’s train for them!
Fit Mama In 30 Prenatal/Postpartum Program is backed by research and designed by Pre and Postnatal Exercise and Nutrition Specialists who believe every mama deserves to have the best preparation, which is why our program views motherhood as a performance event. Unlike other prenatal programs, we focus on building strength and endurance, regardless of your fitness level. You are capable of AMAZING things and we are here to guide you and show you how to train in a safe and effective way.

Learn more HERE!

We know there is a lot of information out there on working out during pregnancy and we hope we have given you a better idea of what you should and should not do throughout your pregnancy. 

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