Having an active pregnancy is something I purposefully aimed for this time around. This is how I did it, as well as some of the tips to stay healthy!

pregnant yoga mother staying active and healthy during pregnancy

Staying active during pregnancy is one of the things I attribute to such a speedy recovery and good C-section experience. Also as I was a parent to a 5-year-old I was on my feet a lot and needed to stay relatively fit and active to accommodate him!

That being said, when you are pregnant you are naturally more protective of your body and you don’t want to jeopardize you or the baby so it’s important to find safe activities. I was on a mission this time around to have an active pregnancy because I had the complete opposite the first time around and my recovery was awful. I also put on a ton of weight and it took me several years to see a problem before it sparked my weight loss.

As well as this, I was playing netball, running and swimming several times per week and I wasn’t ready to give this up, especially in the first two trimesters! That’s not to say that my pregnancy weight didn’t go up, sometimes no matter how healthy and fit you are, you are growing a human so you’re going to put on weight! But, with this in mind, I thought I would share some of the ways I stayed active and healthy during my second pregnancy and other ways you can be healthy throughout to speed up your recovery.

Walking

This is something I did a lot of, particularly in the last trimester and up until I was 36 weeks I didn’t even own a car so I was averaging around 2-6 miles per day, albeit slowly. Walking is also a great alternative to jogging and running if you want something lower-impact that can help tone muscles as well as get you out of the house and boost your mood. For more of a “workout” try incorporating hills, walking briskly or walking with a buggy.Running

Running

The next phase up and suitable for those who have been running prior to pregnancy. It is important not to push it and you have to adapt your running style and training program to reduce intensity but otherwise, it’s a great way to stay fit and active. I also bought a support belt which seemed to help my growing bump and make running more comfortable to take some of the pressure off.

Static Biking

Cycling is not recommended at all during pregnancy, primarily because of the risk of falling off, particularly as your balance is impaired. Avid cyclists don’t have to miss out though as you can maintain your fitness on a static bike so even though you won’t get the same scenery, it is easier for your recovery and staying active specifically for cycling.

Alternatively, you could invest in a turbo trainer which is a device that allows you to bring your bike indoors and acts as a resistance while allowing you to remain static inside so that you and your body remains familiar with your bike.

Swimming

Perfect for everyone because it is low-impact and gives the joints a rest which can often be very sore, especially during the last trimester. Swimming is a great break for your body in general and can even help to relieve swollen ankles. If you aren’t normally sporty, this can be a great way to have a healthy, active pregnancy.

You could also try water aerobics as a great way to raise your heart rate for more of a workout without the impact of other cardio options. The downside? Finding a swimming suit that fits!

Prenatal Yoga

Yoga can help boost relaxation and improve stress within pregnancy which is very important to your health and well-being. As well as this it is a great way to stretch, avoid injury and keep your body toned. It can ease aches and pains in the third trimester, strengthen your core ready for giving birth and also allows you to practice your breathing.

It is best to aim for prenatal yoga because even though you can find low-impact classes there are certain exercises that can put you at risk or strain parts of your body so having an instructor familiar with pregnancy is important.

*It is best to avoid “hot yoga” as overheating can harm you or your baby.

Bodyweight Exercises

Low-impact and pregnancy specific exercises can help you avoid weaknesses and keep strong and fit during your pregnancy. Examples of these exercises could be pelvic tilts for your core, Kegels for your pelvic floor, squats, hip bridges or lunges.

Light Weight Training

This is only applicable if you have previously been lifting weights and have proper form otherwise it can be harmful. However, light weights and weight lifting can help keep you toned and maintain much of your figure during pregnancy and help you get it back quicker post pregnancy.

*Warm ups and cool downs are more important than ever when you are pregnant as your body is stretching and changing so is more prone to injury, particularly during exercise.

As far as exercising is concerned, the best advice I received from midwives and doctors alike was:

“If you were doing it before pregnancy, you should be able to keep doing, modify or adapt during pregnancy.”

There are some exceptions to this rule and you should obviously be sensible, but just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you should give up some of your favourite exercises or hobbies. If you have any queries you should speak to a health professional and they can give you the best advice on what to avoid and how you can adapt.

Other Ways To Stay Healthy During Pregnancy Are: 

  • Utilize Support System – Your support system can help to deal with problems, issues and just be there for you throughout your pregnancy which can reduce stress and keep you calm and relaxed. When pregnant we have a lot of emotions and hormones which can start to feel like it is all too much but relying on your support system can help.
  • Stay Hydrated – Plenty of water can not only help flush toxins from your system and keep you healthy but also reduces fatigue, dizziness and overheating which can be common, particularly during the last trimester.
  • Get SleepPregnancy sleeping can be easier said than done but it is important to physical and mental wellbeing so if you are struggling to sleep at night, particularly in the final stages, try to aim and have naps to make up for it! You are growing a small human, you are bound to be tired so give your body a rest.
  • Eat Well – Fruit, vegetables and minimal sugar and fat are useful for fighting fatigue during pregnancy and ensuring that you and the baby are getting all the nutrients you need. Pregnancy is stressful on the body so a well-rounded diet is important to avoid deficiencies!
  • Avoid Overheating – This isn’t always easy, particularly during a summer pregnancy but it is important, especially in the first and last trimester as it can be harmful to the baby if you overheat. This is something I discuss in my Pregnant and…Melting post, including some of the ways I stayed cool during a heatwave in my third trimester!
  • Reduce Caffeine – High amounts of caffeine during pregnancy can lead to complications as well as a lower birth rate and in early pregnancy can also cause miscarriage in some cases. Try to switch out coffee to decaf and tea to green tea or water and avoid fizzy drinks. Here are some healthy alternatives to sugary drinks which can help.
  • Take Vitamins – Prenatal vitamins can be really useful at stopping you from feeling tired and rundown during pregnancy, as well as ensuring you and your baby are getting the proper nutrients for growth and health. focus on folic acid, iron and calcium.
  • Watch You Environment – Try to avoid the usual culprits; chemicals, smoke, pesticides and unnecessary hormones in foods (we have enough already, you don’t need anymore).
  • Be Sensible – I am a firm believer that pregnancy isn’t an illness (for most of us) and so we don’t need to be treated like we are fragile. That being said, everyone has their own limits and this means that even in an active pregnancy you need to know when enough is enough. Listen to your body and pay attention to warning signs such as dizziness, breathlessness and overheating which can mean it is time to stop.

Activities and Exercises To Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Contact Sports – This is pretty self-explanatory because knocks and bumps to you and your baby can put you both at risk as well as increasing the risk of placenta ruptures.
  • Activities Needing Balance – Your balance is impaired during pregnancy and this puts you at a higher risk of falling and causing injury to you and your baby so avoid activities such as cycling, horseriding, surfing or rollerblading.
  • High Altitudes – Travelling and participating in sports and activities at high altitudes can reduce the oxygen that you and your baby get which can reduce growth, make you likely to faint and harder to catch your breath. Also, for those in the third trimester, it can increase the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis.
  • Sit-Ups – As well as traditional ab exercises as this can lead to diastasis recti which is the separation of your abdominal muscles that can sometimes naturally occur during pregnancy anyway. There are plenty of alternatives that you can use to strengthen your core and abs to maintain an active pregnancy.

For more information and tips of how to stay healthy and active during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, I found a pretty cool infographic to help and pin for later:

active pregnancy infographic

An active pregnancy is important for your health as well as your recovery and here's some of the ways to stay healthy and active during pregnancy.

9 comments on “Ways To Stay Healthy & Have An Active Pregnancy (+Infographic)”

  1. I genuinely had no idea that cycling wasn’t recommended for pregnant women. I’m a keen cyclist and I find it’s a really great way to keep the weight off, but then again, I’m done growing babies so I don’t have to worry about that aspect. 🙂 Great tips in this post!

  2. These are fantastic tips for staying fit during pregnancy. I was a little too lazy during mine, and ended up gaining 40lbs. Fortunately I managed to get it off by breastfeeding. But these tips can be used for anyone – pregnant or not!

  3. With my first, I went swimming several times a week, right up until the week before my due date. By the time I had my second, we had moved house and no longer had a pool near us, but I did a lot of walking.

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