Benefits of Exercising DURING Pregnancy

Benefits of Exercising DURING Pregnancy

03.06.2020 - Learn more about the advantages and benefits of exercising during pregnancy. Not only for you as mom-to-be, but also for your baby! But, what are the do's and don'ts?

Exercise during your pregnancy  

When you are pregnant, you do not only exercise for yourself. But also your baby benefits from you being active during pregnancy. But, what should you and what should you NOT do? Fitness expert, Esther van Diepen, will discuss the do’s and don’ts for exercise during pregnancy and give you some really useful tips!

During the next nine months, your body will be all about growing a healthy baby! This demands massive amounts of energy, focus, discipline, perseverance and a strong body. Being pregnant is a top-league sport for which you can definitely use extra energy. Exercise and healthy nutrition can make a huge difference in how you will feel over the coming months.

Exercise during pregnancy

Staying active will help you to maintain your physical health at pre-pregnancy level for the coming nine months. Exercise on a regular base increases the maximum amount of energy a woman can generate and the amount of oxygen she can use per minute. When pregnant, physical strain does not have any risk for mother or child as long as it is a normal pregnancy without any complications.

Regular strength and cardio training prevents many common pregnancy complaints, or in any case reduces their impact. Exhaustion during the first trimester is one of those symptoms you can easily counter by getting into action. However, it is wise to exercise with professional guidance so you know exactly what you can and cannot do. Besides, it is wise to propose your exercise plans to your obstetrician or gynaecologist.

Healthy for you

There are a lot of benefits if you exercise during your pregnancy. Women who exercise frequently, have less pregnancy complaints, have a better night's rest, and gain weight in a healthy way. Regular workouts ensure that stored fats will be used as the primary source of energy by your body. And, women who exercise regularly gain on average 4 kilos less than pregnant women who have not been active during their pregnancy. Continuing your exercises also helps you prepare for the delivery. Several studies show that a fit and healthy woman has fewer complications and less exhaustion.

Good for the baby

The healthy environment that the mother creates in the womb by staying active during pregnancy has a positive effect on the development of the baby. The chance of chronical illnesses diminishes for the future adult and doing sports has a positive effect on the IQ of the baby. Good to get into action!

10 reasons to stay active during your pregnancy

  • You feel fit and healthy and it’s an energy booster
  • It has a positive impact on your baby
  • It keeps your physical strength up or even improves it
  • It contributes to a healthy weight gain
  • You will sleep better
  • Your endurance will be better before, during and after your delivery
  • You will bounce back faster to your pre-pregnancy shape
  • It is relaxing and improves your overall mood
  • Working out with other pregnant women is stimulating and you meet new people

Tips for exercising

To stay active during the coming nine months in a healthy and responsible way, Esther van Diepen advises you to follow several basic guidelines with regards to temperature, intensity, hydration, diet and fatigue.

  • Make sure your body temperature doesn’t increase too much
  • Train at max 70% of your capacity
  • Drink plenty of water during your workout
  • Take a carb rich snack before and after exercising
  • Do not wear yourself out completely
  • Don’t exceed 1 hour of sports per workout

Tip: Water, water, water

Ensure that you stay hydrated during your workouts. Make sure you always carry water or a sports drink with you during exercise. A good indication is 1 glass of water for every 20 minutes that you are active.

When do I have to stop doing sports?

If you experience dizziness or nausea, you should temporarily stop sports. Also when you experience sudden headaches, recurring hard stomachs or vaginal blood loss. Always consult your doctor or obstetrician before you start following a sport program. And whether you should continue or not.

The most important is for you to obtain enough oxygen so that there is enough for your baby. Keep in mind that the closer you get to the delivery, the weaker your tendons and joints get.

Try to avoid these kind of sports

Skiing - is no problem at the beginning of your pregnancy but later on during your pregnancy, the risk of falling on your belly gets bigger.

Mountain climbing and abseiling - are not a problem early in your pregnancy up to 2500 metres. Above 2500m, the air becomes too thin, meaning the baby may not get enough oxygen.

Diving and skydiving - are sports you shouldn’t do at all during your pregnancy, as you will be very sensitive to decompression.

Horse Riding - you should be careful with this. You may do this early in your pregnancy, if you are an experienced rider as a lot of pressure appears on the tendons and pelvis if you ride a horse. Later on during your pregnancy, you should only have slow rides on a calm horse.

Do’s and don’ts of exercises during a pregnancy according to Esther van Diepen:


  • Choose a sports class specially designed for pregnant women. These days, there are many different kinds of sport activities for expecting women, like maternity yoga and maternity swimming. Besides, there is a broad variety of outdoor activities: e.g. Mom in Balance organises workouts for mothers (to-be) in parks.
  • Especially train the muscles around the pelvis, your core and legs and arms.
  • Focus on your breath and your position.
  • Maintain your endurance with cardio exercises like running and power walking.
  • Listen to your body, stop exercising if you feel dizzy or nauseous, or if you get have repeatedly a hard belly.
  • Wear comfortable sportswear
  • Make sure, you have obtained enough carbs before exercising, this will give you energy
  • Walking and cycling are both exercises which are always good to do. You can continuous train your arms and legs by doing this. This results in more power, which can eventually help you during delivery. Furthermore, you will constantly feel more energetic.
  • You may train your abdominal oblique belly muscle: this will give great support to your belly. Do this by doing several core exercises. Exercises which are fully focussed on the belly are discouraged during pregnancy as this could increase the risk of a diastisis.


  • Don’t do any exercise on one leg, with regards to the pelvis.
  • Don’t make any large circular movements with your torso.
  • Don’t do any exercises on your back from the third trimester. The heavy womb is pushing on the artery of the placenta which can make you dizzy.
  • Don’t do any sit-ups. By doing this, you train the straight abs, which should eventually move sideways to make space for your baby.
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