Best prenatal exercises
I often get asked what are the best exercises to do when you’re pregnant. Unfortunately there is not one straight forward answer!
To begin with, what (if any) exercises you were doing prior to getting pregnant? And how light or hard were you training?
If you were working at a moderate to high intensity prior to pregnancy then you can work at rate of around 7.5 or 8 out of 10 on the RPE scale during pregnancy.
RPE (Rate of Perceived Effort) scale runs from 1 being little or no activity to 10 being maximal activity, can hardly breathe and cant hold a conversation.
If you were fairly sedentary before becoming pregnant then you should exercise at a low to moderate intensity, so around 2 to 6 out of 10, throughout your pregnancy.
Below are exercises that are considered ‘safe’ and can be continued or started slowly:-
- Low-impact aerobic activities (e.g. walking, swimming, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobic classes) - Modified yoga and pilates - Running and jogging* - Resistance training*
*check with your medical provider that you are cleared for this type of exercise
I carried on doing resistance exercises throughout both of my pregnancies and really felt the benefits such as I definitely felt less achy, I felt strong right through til my due date and I believe it helped me prepare for all the lifting, pushing, carrying etc. once the babies were born. So I’m a huge fan of prenatal resistance training!
If you’re cleared for this, there is huge variety of resistance exercises you can choose from that are considered safe and beneficial.
Here’s a great list from Girls Gone Strong of just some of the many exercises you can do:-
Core/Trunk - Half-Kneeling Chop (band or cable) - Tall-Kneeling Pallof Press - Suitcase Carry Squat - Bodyweight Squat - Dumbbell Squat - Goblet Squat Hinge - Kettlebell Deadlift - Romanian Deadlift - Suitcase Deadlift Glute Bridge - Bodyweight Glute Bridge - Single-Leg Glute Bridge - Feet-Elevated Glute Bridge - Back-Elevated Hip Thrust Row Variations - One-Arm Dumbbell Row • Seated Cable Row - Standing Band Row - Single-Arm Cable Row Press Variations - Incline Dumbbell Bench Press • Standing Cable Press - Half-Kneeling Band Press
Below are good guidelines to follow for effective safe workouts during your pregnancy:-
- Make sure your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor do not feel strained - Make sure you aren’t feeling any outward pressure on your belly or downward pressure onto your pelvic floor - Does the exercise make you feel good? Stop if you feel any pain or discomfort
If you have any questions regarding prenatal exercise, just post below!