How to Choose a Prenatal Workout Program

Did you just find out you’re pregnant and are curious about what modifications you need to exercise while pregnant? Or maybe you’re out of shape and want to be healthy for yourself and your little one.

First, congratulations, mama; creating a family is so exciting! Working out while pregnant doesn’t have to be drastically different from your current workouts, nor does it need to be complicated to start a workout routine. The best workout routine during pregnancy keeps your body active, incorporates core strength, and you can stick to it. Workouts don’t need to take an hour long or require a bunch of machines at the gym. You can get a great workout in with a set of dumbbells, a resistance band, and 30 minutes!

Find your prenatal exercise questions answered and a free two-week pregnancy exercise plan to help get you started. 

Can I Start An Exercise Program While Pregnant?

Yes, you can start an exercise program while pregnant! It is never too late to start incorporating prenatal exercise, and it is highly beneficial for mom and baby. An easy way to start exercising is to start walking or choose bodyweight exercises.

For a more in-depth article on the benefits of exercise and guidelines from ACOG, check out my post here.  

What Are Core Safe Prenatal Exercises?

Core safe pregnancy exercises include movements that prevent coning or doming of the abdomen. Some examples of exercises are birddogs, deadbugs, bear holds, and side plank lifts.

pregnant woman exercising her core

It is typically acceptable to keep your exercise routine the same during the first trimester without seeing signs of intolerance. However, once you reach the second trimester, you will want to start making modifications for core exercises like crunches. 

What Modifications Do I Need For Exercising During Pregnancy?

Modifications to your prenatal exercise program may include limiting crunches or sit-ups, avoiding laying on your stomach, decreasing exercise intensity and duration, and working out in extreme temperatures. Specific movement modifications will be different for every person.

Some women can continue CrossFit-style workouts throughout their entire pregnancy, while others may need to stop overhead pressing because of coning in their bellies. How well someone can manage intraabdominal pressure and pelvic floor will determine their intolerance for certain movements. 

Can I Do Squats During Pregnancy?

pregnant woman squatting

Yes, you can squat while pregnant. In fact, it’s an excellent exercise to do through all trimesters of pregnancy. During your third trimester of pregnancy, it is great to start adding deep squats for mobility and preparation for labor. 

When Should I Stop Prenatal Exercise?

You should stop exercising during pregnancy if your doctor has instructed you to stop or if you feel any pain/discomfort while working out. However, there is no reason you can’t exercise up until birth for most low-risk pregnancies. 

Pregnancy Workout Guide

This workout guide is perfect for all fitness levels, can be done at home, and uses minimal equipment. You will need a mat, a set of light weights, and a resistance band.

There are 4 workouts per week split into an upper body, lower body, core, and total body day. They are a mixture of strength, HIIT, and posture workouts to help you build muscle, increase your heart rate, and prevent poor body mechanics throughout pregnancy.

pregnant woman performing leg exercise

For a free printable PDF of the workout plan, get it here

free pregnancy workout plan
free pregnancy workout plan for new moms

Week 1, Day 1: Strength Workout

Sidelying TA Breathing- 10 breaths, 2 sets
Paloff Press- 20 reps, 3 sets
One Leg Bridge Extension- 20 reps, 3 sets
Heel Slide March- 20 reps, 3 sets
Frog Pumps- 20 reps, 3 sets

Week 1, Day 2: Strength Workout

Banded Pull Aparts- 15 reps, 3 sets
Shoulder Press- 15 reps, 3 sets
W Bicep Curls- 15 reps, 3 sets
Dips- 15 reps, 3 sets
Wall Angels- 15 reps, 3 sets

Week 1, Day 3: Strength Workout

Squat Pulse- 15 reps, 3 sets
RDL W/ Weight- 15 reps, 3 sets
Side Hip Raises- 14 reps, 3 sets
Side Lunges- 14 reps, 3 sets
Bridge Ball Squeeze- 15 reps, 3 sets

Week 1, Day 4: Circuit Workout

Gorilla Row- 12 reps 3 sets
Side Lunge Rear Fly- 12 reps, 3 sets
Pushup- 12 reps, 3 sets
Paloff Press- 20 reps, 3 sets
Bear Crawl Hold- 30 seconds, 3 sets

Week 2, Day 1: Strength Workout

Exercise Ball Breathing- 10 reps, 2 sets
Bent Knee Fallout- 20 reps, 3 sets
TA Arm Switch – 20 reps, 3 sets
All Fours Rotational Pull- 20 reps, 3 sets
Deadbug -20 reps, 3 sets

Week 2, Day 2: Strength Workout

Lying Banded Pullovers- 15 reps, 3 sets
ITY- 12 reps, 3 sets
Face Pulls- 15 reps, 3 sets
Chest Flys- 15 reps, 3 sets
DB Rows- 15 reps, 3 sets

Week 2, Day 3: Strength Workout

Pistol Box Squats- 14 reps, 3 sets
Banded Front, Side, Back- 14 reps, 3 sets
Side To Back Lunge- 14 reps, 3 sets
Banded Adduction- 14 reps, 3 sets
B Step RDL- 14 reps, 3 sets

Week 2, Day 4: Circuit Workout

Squat to Press- 12 reps, 3 sets
Woodchop- 20 reps, 3 sets
Side Lunge Upright Row- 12 reps, 3 sets
Plie Curl- 12 reps, 3 sets
Farmer Carry- 20 steps, 3 sets

Start Your Pregnancy Workout Journey Today

Prenatal exercise doesn’t have to be drastically different from your current routine. With a few core exercise adjustments, you can continue to get moving and stay healthy for yourself and your baby.

I hope this workout plan helps you try a new routine or give you inspiration for a workout plan. Which workout is your favorite? Let me know in the comments. 

Prepping for postpartum exercise? Check out my two-week postpartum guide here