How to Exercise Safely During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is such an incredible journey, but it requires special attention to your body's changing needs, especially when it comes to exercise. Throughout each of the three trimesters of pregnancy, your body changes to support the growth of your baby and to prepare for birth. Staying active and strong through each stage is essential to support your physical and emotional health and ensure you and your baby are in the best possible health.

How to Exercise Safely During Pregnancy

First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)


While there are not always obvious changes during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, your body is already preparing for birth. There is increased release of the hormone relaxin, which may make joints, tendons and muscles feel more mobile. This can lead to instability, weakness and hyper-mobility.


First trimester focus:

1. Abdominal connection using the breath, and overall core strengthening.

2. Hip, glute and leg strengthening.

3. Gentle stretching to maintain balance in your body, as well as help you connect to your breath.


Try this workout: Prenatal Core Strength


Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)


As your pregnancy progresses into the second trimester, you might have regained some energy and seen nausea subside. Now is when the physical changes start becoming apparent. Your centre of gravity shifts as baby and belly begin to grow – your pelvis will start tilting forward and subsequently your spine will extend. As a result, you may notice imbalances, aches and pains through your hips and spine, and you may be short of breath as your lungs become restricted.


Second trimester focus:

1. Abdominal connection using the breath.

2. Hips, legs, back and shoulder strengthening to accommodate for continual bump growth.

3. Spine stretching to maintain mobility.

4. Avoiding overexertion.


Try this workout: Back Strength and Stretch


Third Trimester (Weeks 29-Delivery)


As you prepare for birth in your final trimester, maintenance of your strength (rather than trying to build more strength) and minimising aches and pains are the priorities. You may feel a little less comfortable and mobile, so anything that is going to support your health and energy levels is important.


Third trimester focus:

1. Abdominal connection using the breath.

2. Hip and pelvic floor strengthening and stability.

3. Spine strengthening and stretching.

4. Opting for gentler exercises that do not cause overheating, overexertion, straining of your joints or any other discomfort.


Try this workout: Prenatal Full Body 5


Exercising safely during pregnancy with trimester-specific adjustments ensures that both you and your baby stay healthy. Pilates By Bel offers prenatal and postnatal Pilates classes and Pilates plans to support women throughout every stage of your journey into motherhood. Stay active, stay healthy, and enjoy this incredible journey!


Please remember to consult with your health professional before starting any new exercise routine.

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