Mother and Baby

A guide to the best pregnancy workouts

Section: Exercise
Pregnancy fitness

Exercising throughout your pregnancy is important for both you and your growing baby. It keeps you fit and healthy and your body in tip-top condition. But if you're wondering what sort of workouts should you be doing while pregnant, we're here to help. We take a closer look at the best  and safest workouts you can do while you're expecting.  

The best workouts during pregnancy:


Your baby is enjoying life in a watery world right now, and you should be too. When you’re pregnant, a trip to your local swimming pool cools you down, supports your joints and rests your bump. Best of all, being in water helps you feel weightless: immersing your body up to your waist decreases your weight by 50 per cent and, if you wander towards the deep end and submerge up to your chest, 75 per cent. And when your bump is getting big, that’s just heavenly.


It's the ideal exercise to start with if you're used to limited physical activity - it's easy to make walking part of your everyday routine and it's free too! Being low impact, it's something you can do right up until labour if everything feels comfortable and why not do it with friends and have a catch up at the same time? Just make sure you're wearing comfy shoes and you stay on level ground. 


INTENSITY GUIDELINES 😅 Did you know that only 15.1% of pregnant women exercise at the recommended levels? (LEWIS, 2008) According to Tinloy, 2014, physical activity of 150 or more minutes per week (so 3 50 minutes sessions or 5 30 minutes sessions weekly) is associated with improved pregnancy health outcomes, compared with women who participated in less than 60 minutes per week. How about RUNNING during pregnancy? As long as you don’t have any complications (incontinent cervix, placenta previa, or preeclampsia, for example), pregnant women are encouraged to continue running (assuming you were running previous to pregnancy). Conditioned athletes can safely exercise 5+ times/week at 65%-90% or regular intensity As always, LISTEN to your body. Use the “talk test” to monitor your intensity. Focus on strengthening your pelvic floor and deep core to help your body allow you to continue running! See my Bump Runner pregnancy running program for guidance! Link in bio 📱

A post shared by Pregnancy Running Coach (@bumprunner) on


If running or jogging was part of your life before pregnancy, it's perfectly safe to continue this providing you feel fine. Your baby won't be impacted by running and it's a brilliant way to keep your heart and lungs healthy. As your bump gets bigger and you enter your third trimester, you may feel more tired so be sure to listen to your body and make resting a priority when needed. 

If you didn't run before you were pregnant, it's best to stick to walking briskly as your joints won't be used to the exercise. 


Similar to Yoga, Pilates is a low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen your body evenly, with an emphasis on your core muscles. Pilates is really helpful in giving your body a helping hand with carrying the extra weight that is your baby. It also focuses on strengthening your pelvic floor. 


Yoga is a lovely way to spend time with your unborn baby and there are lots of benefits to enjoy too as a result. Staying active helps to keep your body strong and flexible and research has found that it can also improve sleep and reduce anxiety and stress as well.

A lot of the skills you learn in yoga may actually prove useful when it’s time to prepare to meet your upcoming arrival, enabling you to be more in-tune with your body. Being able to stay focused and calm through deep and mindful breathing as is encouraged in yoga, can help you to relax your body and feel more confident and in control when giving birth. 


‘Dancing is brilliant for your wellbeing at any time of your life,’ says pregnancy dance instructor Elisa Reinerio. ‘This is especially true during pregnancy as it helps you experience what feels good as your body changes, learn how to adjust your movements as your bump grows and really listen to what your body is telling you. It’s also a form of mental release. Dancing can help you tap into what you’re feeling and enable you to sort through your emotions and let go of any tension or pent-up feelings. It does this by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leaving you more relaxed. Amazingly your baby will reap the benefits too. From as early on as around 14 weeks into your pregnancy, he’ll be able hear the music and feel your patterns of movement, which creates a bond between the two of you..’

pregnant women dancing

Pregnancy workouts on YouTube:

While long workouts at the gym might be out of the question during your pregnancy, there are lots of workouts you can do in your own home. You might also feel less self-conscious and more comfortable working out in your living room than at the gym. 

Pregnancy fitness workouts on YouTube are a great way to keep fit in the comfort of your own home. And now we’ve all got smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, it is easier than ever to stream YouTube videos to watch straight away. We've round up the best pregnancy fitness videos on Youtube, from stretches to yoga and even those dreaded cardio workouts!

Expand Image

1) Pregnancy Yoga, Katy Appleton

Yoga is well known for its beneficial properties whether you are pregnant, trying for a baby, a new mum, or just a regular Joe needing to keep in shape. Not only will yoga strengthen and tone your body during pregnancy, but it will help you stay calm and centred too. 

Katy Appleton is the instructor for this series on TONIC, a women's lifestyle channel. Katy runs Apple Yoga, which offers yoga classes and workshops as well as online courses. With more than 2million views on YouTube, this one is a pregnancy yoga favourite. 
Expand Image

2) Pregnancy Unleashed, Diana Antholis

Stay healthy during pregnancy with the Pregnancy Unleashed Prenatal Series from Diana Antholis, personal trainer, best-selling author and lifestyle coach. The videos include pregnancy stretches to relieve everyday aches and pains and stability ball exercises for back and pelvic pain relief which can be used before and during pregnancy.
Expand Image

3) Prenatal Yoga: 5 poses for all trimesters, Adriene Mishler

Adriene Mishler, actress and yoga enthusiast, provides you with five safe poses to do practice while you are pregnant. Learn happy and healthy poses for both mum and baby with a strong focus on the breath. Take your time, listen and connect to your intuitive self. 
Expand Image

4) 20 Minute First Trimester Cardio Workout, BodyFit by Amy Schemper

Being pregnant doesn't mean you can't get your blood pump and heart racing doing some cardio! This 20 minute workout features cardio exercises for your first trimester of pregnancy. The exercises feature safe yet effective moves with different options depending on your fitness level. Get your heart pumping just enough while strengthening all your muscles and preparing you for delivery.
Expand Image

5) Second Trimester Workout, Anna Sacone

This workout takes you through several rounds of pregnancy safe exercise to strengthen those muscles! For this video, Youtuber and mother Anna Sacone is joined by Lucy Wyndham-Read, a personal trainer and at home workout guru.
Expand Image

6) Prenatal Safe Stretch Routine, Elle Lindquist

Elle Lindquist, mum and lifestyle vlogger talks you through some stretches to help you relax and unwind. These stretches are aimed at relieving restless leg syndrome, IT Band pain, Sciatica and SI Joint pain associated with pregnancy. These stretches will reduce stress and improve your sleep too. Plus you can do this stretch routine at any trimester or even when you aren't pregnant!
Expand Image

7) Pregnancy Pilates, Jen Chae and Cassey Ho

Pilates is a great exercise to do while pregnant. It improves posture, flexibility, balance and prepares you both mentally and physically for pregnancy, labour and the demands of motherhood.

This video features a quick, everyday workout routine that any mama-to-be can do to stay fit during pregnancy. Jen Chae, beauty blogger and Youtuber is joined by Cassey Ho, an award-winning fitness instructor and entrepreneur founder of Blogilates.
Expand Image

8) Full Body Prenatal Workout, Lauren Hefez

This full body workout is perfect for any trimester of pregnancy. Lauren Hefez, a Youtuber, mother, pilates and barre teacher, guides you through breathing, stretches and low impact cardio exercises to get your blood pumping.
Expand Image

9) Pregnancy Fitness Exercises, Mother & Baby

With several videos to choose from, our quick workouts filmed with Joan Murphy, a co-founder of Frame fitness studios in London, show you lots of achievable exercises for pregnancy. Once you’ve had your baby, we’ve got new mum workout exercises to do with your baby too!

Pregnancy workout DVD's

Prefer to pop a DVD in instead of trawling through YouTube? Make a weekly date with yourself to do some exercise following a workout DVD. We've popped together a list of some of our favourites here for you to have a go at. 

Read next on Mother&Baby:

Follow Mother&Baby:

  • Author: Emily Thorpe Emily Thorpe
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Having written for Mother&Baby magazine for four years where she wrote news, product pages, features and interviewed celebrities such as Paloma Faith and Fearne Cotton, Emily now works as Digital Writer for Mother&Baby online where she specialises in travel and product reviews. 


Other contributors

Catriona Watson - Freelance writer

Related Content

Related content:

You May Also Like

You May Also Like

You May Also Like