Pregnancy Workouts for Each Trimester

You probably already know this, but just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. In fact, pregnancy workouts are essential to having a healthy pregnancy and birth, and they will assist you in bouncing back from pregnancy faster and easier.

If you are not active now, pregnancy is the perfect time to start being active and if you are unsure of what exercises you are able to do, check out some of the ones listed below that will last you through every stage of pregnancy.

Before you start any workout plan, though, consult your doctor to make sure you are physically able to complete the exercises safely. 

Pregnancy Workouts for Each Trimester

Pregnancy Workouts for Each Trimester

First Trimester Exercises

During the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, most doctors will tell you that you can safely do almost every type of exercise you did before becoming pregnant. So, if you already have a workout routine, stick to it! Additionally, you don’t have to increase caloric intake, either. Women who exercise during the first trimester tend to weigh less when they reach the delivery room than women who don’t, which makes labor easier.

The only issue with the first trimester and working out, for most women, is that they are extremely tired and cannot force themselves to work out. If you can, though, you will see an increase in energy. Morning sickness may also get in the way, so find natural ways to combat that.

If you don’t have an established exercise routine, try this one.

Ab Exercises (yes, you can still do them):

Basic sit-ups (2 sets of 10 reps each). An exercise mat would probably be helpful for these.

Reverse crunch- lay flat on your back, knees bent, hands behind head, ankles locked. Raise your legs and bring your knees to your chest. Lower and immediately repeat the action. (2 sets of 10 reps)

Obliques:

Have you ever played “I’m a Little Teapot”? That motion where you are the kettle and tipping over is a great oblique exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and place your right hand behind your head. Now, lean your left hand down toward the side of your ankle without bending at the waist. Go as low as you can. Repeat 20 times then switch to the other side.

Arms:

Basic arm curls with a 10 pound dumbbell (repeat 2 sets of 10 reps each)

Overhead press: stay standing after the arm curls and bring the dumbbells to your shoulders, palms facing out. Lift them straight up and hold for 10 seconds. Return to shoulders and immediately repeat. (2 sets of 10 reps)

Legs and butt:

Squats: use a chair to help you balance if you need. Do 10 basic squats and then stop for 30 seconds. Do 10 more.

Lunges: you can balance using the edge of a table if you need. Do 10 lunges with the right leg, swap to the left leg and do 10 more.

Donkey kick: Get on all fours like you’re looking for something under the couch and kick your left leg up, knee still bent. Do 10 reps and swap to the right leg.

Cardio:

Walk up 25 stairs every day.

Walk at least 1 mile a day, trying to complete it in 20 minutes.

Second Trimester Pregnancy Workouts

This is the trimester from 12 weeks, one day, to 28 weeks. You should cut out all of the ab and oblique exercises at this point and focus only on arms, legs, and buttocks. Add in additional exercises to your pregnancy workouts to help with the loss of ab exercises.

Arms:

Butterfly presses: lying flat on you back, knees bent, hold the dumbbells out to your side, level with your shoulders. Lift the dumbbells and bring them in to one another above your chest, in a fly motion. Do 10 reps.

Leg and butt exercises:

Leg extended squat: stand on one leg with the other slightly extended in front of you. Use a table or chair to balance as you do this move and squat with the one leg. Do 8 reps, the swap legs and do 8 more reps.

Third Trimester Exercises

During this trimester you need to start cutting back on all of your exercises in your pregnancy workout, except your arms and a little cardio.

Cardio:

One mile a day, completed within 30 minutes.

Arms:

Continue all the exercises you have done up until this point and add reps if you feel comfortable doing so.

Butt and legs:

Keep the basic squats and attempt to walk stairs, if you can, but don’t do exercises that will leave your belly unsupported, like the donkey kicks. You can add in calf raises, which is where you stand with your feet flat, and then raise on to your toes, hold for a few seconds, then return to standing flat footed. Repeat 15 times.

Additional Pregnancy Workout Tips

  • Always wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Pregnancy can make you uncomfortable enough, so don’t add to discomfort with your clothing.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, stop. This is not the time to exert yourself to the point of exhaustion that you can barely walk.
  • Always pack plenty of water and snacks for your workout. You will become thirsty and possibly hungry, and you will need something close by to keep your blood sugar level.
  • Bring a partner when you can. In case of some type of medical emergency, you will want someone with you. Plus, having a partner can keep you motivated.
  • All of these reps can be upped safely, as long as you feel you can complete them without straining yourself.

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Comments

  1. Mariah says

    With my first child I was all about pregnancy workouts. I was at the gym and working with a trainer up until a few weeks before he was born. I even hit the gym the day before he was born. I haven’t as been as dedicated this pregnancy. Although chasing a toddler keeps me pretty busy this time around!

    • Kecia says

      I have been the same way with my pregnancies. So diligent and “by the book” in the first one, and in this one, I’ve been more relaxed. And yes, having a little one to chase can be just as good as exercise!

  2. Ashley McLure says

    The things you learn long after they would have been useful. It might have helped me stay in better shape to have continued some of this while pregnant.

  3. Rachel says

    Oooh, perfect timing! Now that I am in my second trimester and feeling a bit better, I have been wondering what kinds of exercises I can still do….or more importantly, what I should avoid. Thanks to your info, in addition to the treadmill and elliptical, I’ll add some strength training for my arms and legs. Thanks!

    • Kecia says

      I’ve been using my treadmill too. I didn’t think about my arms until I began researching these pregnancy workouts.

  4. Mandi says

    I may not use this (already have 3 kiddos!), but these are going to be passed on to some friends for sure! I was a walker while pregnant and didn’t do much other than walk and stretch.

  5. Debi says

    Those are great workouts. It is important to stay active during pregnancy but important to remember to modify it too. Wish I had this set up when I was pregnant.

  6. Stacie Connerty says

    I worked out all the way through all three of my pregnancies. My doctor said that it was perfectly safe for me to do this especially since I had always worked out. The only caution he had was that if I had not been a someone to work out that now wasn’t the time to start running marathons. I reassured him, that wasnt about to happen pregnant or not! ;)

    • Kecia says

      I hope to do road races in the future, but no way would I attempt that or a marathon while pregnant!!

  7. serena says

    Great suggestions for easy exercises you can do at home. I’ve done triathlons for years and my doctor advised me stop training when I was trying to get pregnant which was really hard so I’m always looking for alternative routines.

  8. Anthea says

    I was a huge swimmer with my first pregnancy and since the weather has been bad with my second, I’m turned into an indoor woman… Lots of walking still.