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Exercise ideas for pregnant women

Three approaches our physical therapists suggest for pregnant patients are running, cycling and group fitness or interval training classes.

Through experience with many pregnant clients, I have found that engaging in the same fitness routine you follow before pregnancy may not be realistic during pregnancy. Exercising while adjusting to the significant changes pregnancy has on your body can be stressful and conflicting information exists as to how you should approach exercise while pregnant. 


Being pregnant does not have to mean quitting your favorite fitness routine, the routine may, however, need a few adjustments.  Below, you will find my favorite exercise tips for remaining active while pregnant. As always, consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program and to ensure that you are medically cleared for physical activity.

Running. During pregnancy, your capacity for exercise may seem to decrease because of the new demands pregnancy places on your body. If you are used to running six miles with an eight minute per mile pace, but you are having difficulty performing this while pregnant, interval training could be a great option for you. Running three minutes and walking for a minute is a good way to modify your running routine.

Cycling. Risk for abdominal trauma is one of the most important pieces of information to be aware of when deciding what is the best exercise routine while pregnant.  Cycling in the city can be intimidating or even downright dangerous. If cycling is your favorite way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life, it is important to ensure you are taking every precaution to prevent a fall or bike accident. It can be helpful to transition to cycling on a stationary bike to avoid the risk of a fall that could negatively impact baby.

Group Fitness or Interval Training Classes. Lying on your back after the first trimester while pregnant is not recommended because this can result in baby compressing one of mom’s major blood vessels that directly affects the heart. Because certain positions, like chest presses, require that you lay flat on your back, it is important to modify these positions so that your head and chest are elevated while lying down. Most exercises can be made pregnancy friendly, so always ask if a movement does not feel good to your changing body.
I have found that encouraging clients to participate in movement that feels good to them results in clients becoming empowered and connected with their body, throughout all the changes pregnancy brings. If you have a specific exercise that you can no longer complete because of pregnancy, or new aches and pains that have arisen because of baby, Rose Physical Therapy can help.  We have several physical therapists who specialize in treating expecting moms and working with women's health issues, including pelvic floor. Please reach out and schedule an appointment at either our office in downtown Washington, DC or in Navy Yard only a few blocks from Capitol Hill so that you can maximally enjoy this incredible time in your life- pain-free!