Is Exercising While Pregnant Safe?

  • Mothers who have had previous miscarriages.
  • Mothers who have had a long fertility journey
  • Or perhaps an older mother in her later 30's or early 40's.

Even though they have don’t have the high-risk pregnancy label...they still feel too scared to exercise.

I get that. Sometimes not doing something at all feels better than not doing something right. Especially when it impacts the 2 most precious things: you and your baby’s life.

I highly encourage you to listen to your body and intuition. And, of course, check in with your healthcare providers.

But I can say that when the question “Is exercising while pregnant safe?” I feel no qualms replying that evidence resoundingly points to the answer that YES. Exercising at a moderate intensity- while pregnant is extremely safe.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. No human research has ever shown that mild to moderate intensity level exercise is harmful to mother or baby. The key is being consistent. Keep the intensity moderate. Make sure you are doing cardio, stretching, and strengthening. (the Train4Birth program guides you through all this in detail!)
  2. Current recommendations call for pregnant women to get at least 150 minutes of exercise in a week, at least 3 times a week. Unfortunately, only 13% of expecting moms meet those guidelines.
  3. Exercising while pregnant can decrease your chances of experiencing nausea. Especially in the first trimester
  4. Exercise helps regulate your blood sugar. This can help ward off pregnancy related comorbidities like gestational diabetes.
  5. One of the biggest health predictors for your children’s long-term health is whether you exercise. Take a second to digest the impact of this. Exemplifying an active lifestyle matters more than if you fed your children’s health than a 100% organic, whole foods diet every day of their life. And, this approach to their health, is mutually beneficial and doesn’t have to cost a penny.
  6. Pregnancy is now being considered the body’s first cardiovascular “stress test”. Because your body undergoes so much transformation during pregnancy, the body has to adapt how much blood it circulates and how much oxygen it processes in order to accommodate those changes. It’s a natural trial-run to how your body will react in the future to age-related changes. So, keeping your blood pressure and heart rate in a healthy zone while pregnant is like training your heart, arteries, lungs, and veins to respond to whatever change your body undergoes in the future in a healthy way.
  7. Exercising while pregnant can decrease your chances of sustaining Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)!
  8. Exercise is known to help reduce anxiety and depression. We have to take care of our mental and physical health!
  9. Exercise can help you SLEEP. As someone who was affected for months by pregnancy-induced insomnia, going on my long walks was my saving grace.

Now that you (hopefully!) feel encouraged (perhaps even inspired) to exercise while pregnant you might wonder what “light to moderate exercise” actually means. What kind of exercise is appropriate for pregnant mothers?

Pregnancy is the perfect time to focus on self-care. It is not the time to be highly competitive. Or to start new, rigorous activities.

Are you already an active person? Continue with your normal routine until it starts to not feel right or modifications seem appropriate.

A combination of cardio, strength training, and stretching is ideal.

As far as cardio goes, my favorite arenas are:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Prenatal yoga*.

They are all incredibly beneficial. They link your breath to movement, which is an important skill during labor.


The most simple way to make sure you’re staying in the Safe-Zone, is called this “Talk Test”. If you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you are likely not over-doing it. This means your heart rate and blood pressure are likely under control.


Yoga is amazing. Just be aware. Your blood volume increases so much while pregnant. So when you transition from pose to pose, you may experience some dizziness.

Strength training.

Using light weights and bands are actually safer than the machines at the gym. You are less likely to lift something that’s too heavy if it’s a free weight. And also, most machines in gyms are designed for male body type specifications.

I’ve noticed that women are far more consistent with exercising if it’s not always done in solitude... or off of a sheet of paper. Having someone with you--or sharing your location with a trusted person through your phone-, in case your blood pressure did drop or you lost your balance or anything is always a good idea. So, invite a friend to walk with you, do Zoom dance parties with your gal pals--it all counts!

Another simple way to make sure you are exercising safely while pregnant is to allways have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. It’s recommended to drink half your body weight, in ounces, over a 24 hour time period.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! Part of the Train4Birth Fitness Birthplan is that you then have me as your coach, helping you modify your workouts, as things evolve throughout your pregnancy.

Reference: 2019 Canadian Guidelines for physical Activity throughout pregnancy.

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