8 min read

What are the Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant?

Exercising for two? Stay healthy during pregnancy!
What are the Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a huge milestone and an exciting time in a person’s life — congratulations! You probably wasted no time in educating yourself on how to take even better care of yourself now that there’s another little human to consider. You’re taking your prenatal supplements. And you decided to cut back on junk food and opt for more nutrient-dense eats. Now, what about your fitness? How can you use exercise to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy? In this blog, we’ll dive into prenatal exercise and some of the benefits it offers, including:

➤ Reducing the chances of labor complications
➤ Boosting energy levels
➤ Improving the quality of sleep
➤ Relieving lower back pain
➤ Improving stamina
➤ Improving heart health
➤ Quickening recovery post-birth
Let’s go!

Before You Begin, Talk to Your Doctor


The human body was made to move. However, it’s still wise to have a conversation with your doctor before switching up your prenatal fitness routine. Namely, you should ask about:
➤ What exercises you can safely perform, and what you should avoid
➤ What your target heart rate should be
➤ How long your workouts should last
➤ If and how your programming should change as your progress through your pregnancy
And importantly, always listen to your body! It doesn’t matter what pop culture tells you. It doesn’t even matter what other pregnant women tell you, since no two pregnancies are exactly the same. If you’re working out and feel like you’re pushing it too hard, pause and rest.

The Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

Pregnant Person lying down scissor kick

You probably already know that a healthy baby starts with a healthy mom. This likely means that dedicating time to move your body is going to be in the best interest of your little one. Let’s talk more about some of the benefits of exercising during pregnancy.

It Reduces the Chances of Labor Complications


Science agrees that exercise can make for a smoother pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum recovery. Staying active can reduce a pregnant woman’s chances of:
➤ Maternal obesity, which can cause a number of other conditions
Preterm birth, meaning a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This happens to approximately one out of every 10 infants born in the United States
Gestational diabetes, which about 6-9% of women will develop
Discomforts like backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
➤ Having an emergency cesarean delivery
➤ Preeclampsia (high blood pressure), which affects 2-8% of pregnancies across the world and causes 15% of premature births
➤ Slower deliveries
➤ Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots, which can be deadly)
Taking care of yourself leading up to your delivery better prepares your body to safely bring an infant into the world.

It Boosts Energy Levels

It might seem counterintuitive, but working out can give you more energy. When you exercise, your body produces more mitochondria in your muscle cells. Mitochondria take glucose from the food you eat, and oxygen from the air you breathe, and they make fuel out of it. Thus, they increase your body’s energy supply.
Plus, exercise increases the oxygen circulation in your body. This further spurs the production of energy through mitochondria. Furthermore, it helps your body use your energy more efficiently. And finally, exercise affects your hormones in a way that makes you feel more energetic, specifically through the feel-good endorphins that your brain produces and releases.
We know that some days, exercising might be the last thing on your mind. And if you need to rest, then rest! But keep in mind that sometimes, all you need is a little movement.

Exercise Improves the Quality of Sleep During Pregnancy

Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant can be challenging. You might be uncomfortable, or perhaps it’s hard to find a position to lay in. Maybe you get into bed and you simply can’t shut your mind off. Whatever the case may be, exercise might be a solution.
Several studies have shown that compared to their non-exercising counterparts, pregnant women who regularly exercise enjoy a positive impact on their sleep quality. More specifically, prenatal exercise can reduce sleep onset, which refers to the time it takes you to fall asleep. Additionally, it can help to reduce the total amount of time you spend laying awake in bed at night. And you already know that exercise can reduce sleepiness and help you feel more energetic during the day, too!
Pregnant people who regularly exercise enjoy a positive impact on their sleep quality and reduce how long it takes to fall asleep (Blog 9.14)

It Relieves Lower Back Pain

Back pain is common during pregnancy. It happens because the ligaments in the body stretch and soften to prepare the woman for labor. This puts an additional strain on the lower back and pelvis, which can lead to back pain. Other causes of lower back pain in pregnant women can include:
Weight gain: It’s normal and healthy to gain weight! But it does put additional pressure on the spine, which can cause lower back pain. Plus, the weight of the growing baby and your uterus put additional pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back.
Changes in your posture: Because you’re gaining weight — and since it’s mostly in the front — your center of gravity changes. Even subconsciously, a pregnant woman will change how she sits, stands, and moves to accommodate this.
Hormonal fluctuations: Relaxin is a hormone that helps you prepare for childbirth. It allows your ligaments and joints to become looser. At the same time, though, it can also cause the ligaments that support the spine to loosen.
Muscle separation: As your uterus grows, your rectus abdominis muscles can separate down the middle. This can further trigger lower back pain.
Exercises that encourage strength in the core and lower back can help to alleviate pain — for example:
➤ Pelvic tilts
➤ Leg raises
➤ Arm raises
➤ Kegels
➤ Wall squats
➤ Child’s pose (hold it for a few seconds and repeat it for reps)
Stretching can also help since tight muscles can easily lead to pain. Focus on stretching your:
➤ Hamstrings
➤ Back
➤ Pecs
➤ Neck

It Improves Stamina

Pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks, during which time a woman’s body goes through incredible changes. Labor is no joke, either. Women can be in labor for days. In fact, the longest labor supposedly lasted 75 days!
Exercising in anticipation of your delivery can help to relieve stress and build up the stamina you’re going to need for labor. It increases your energy levels and better prepares your body to handle the increase in mental and physical stress. One study even found that women who did water exercises during pregnancy experienced shorter labor durations compared to pregnant women who did not. This change was especially noted during the first and second stages of labor.
Think of childbirth as the toughest workout of your life. The more you can prepare your body leading up to it, the better.
Pregnant Woman in Downward Dog Yoga Pose

It Improves Heart Health

One of the many benefits of exercise is that it strengthens your heart and blood vessels. This happens for a number of reasons:
➤ Exercise makes it easier for your muscles to get oxygen from your blood. This reduces the need for the heart to pump more blood throughout your body to your muscles. In other words, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard!
➤ It can help to slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
➤ Exercising helps to reduce stress hormones that can negatively impact your heart health.

It Quickens Recovery Post-Birth

Maybe you’ve heard before that women who stay active during their pregnancies end up having a smoother recovery. Sure enough, science agrees that since prenatal exercise better prepares your body for childbirth, it can also make your post-natal journey easier.
And remember what we talked about earlier, about how prenatal exercise can make delivery easier. You’re at a reduced likelihood of a c-section, tearing, and other complications and side effects. This means that you’ll have less to recover from after giving birth.
All of this is a domino effect. Coming home with a new baby is already so challenging. Your sleep schedule might be turned upside down. You might start breastfeeding. Your hormones are trying to sort themselves out, and you might have a million other responsibilities outside of your newborn. Taking care of yourself during your pregnancy is going to make everything that comes after it 10 times more manageable.
The same goes for your mental health, too. Staying active during pregnancy provides short- and long-term stress relief and psychological benefits — like a decreased risk of anxiety and depression. Indeed, research finds that staying fit during your pregnancy significantly reduces post-partum depression symptoms.

Getting Started with Tempo

Remember that prenatal exercise doesn’t mean running five miles a day. It doesn’t mean knocking out 100 push-ups and 50 pull-ups. It doesn’t even mean going to a gym, because you can move your body just about anywhere. Even gentle stretching can be enough to get your heart rate up. 
This adventure is going to look different for every woman! And while your prenatal exercise journey will certainly require some adjustments, staying healthy throughout your pregnancy is more manageable than ever with Tempo. Our smart home gym system offers more than 1,000 workouts, with new ones added over time, to help keep moms fit without leaving home.
We offer a variety of workout types to suit different needs and goals. Low-impact training can be perfect for moms-to-be looking to stay healthy with gentle exercise. Yoga offers countless benefits for your physical and mental health. We even have designated prenatal exercise programs created specifically for this special time in your life. Under the watchful eye of our trainers, you’ll be guided through a series of exercises to encourage a better pre- and postnatal journey. And thanks to our 3D Tempo Vision, you’ll get real-time feedback and suggestions on how you’re performing and what you can improve. Track your progress over time to see how you’re doing throughout your pregnancy.
If you’re looking for a more powerful, all-in-one solution, Tempo Studio might be the right fit for you. Tempo Move, on the other hand, is designed to fit anywhere. 
The journey to motherhood isn’t the easiest one. Tempo is here to make it a little better. Ready to get and stay in amazing shape as you prepare to welcome new love into your life? Shop with Tempo today and let’s get moving!

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DOMS is delayed onset muscle soreness and has your muscles feeling tender and sore more than a day after a workout; here's how to assess and treat DOMS.

1.23.20 finding why hero image

Finding Your Why

In our last couple blog posts, we talked a lot about some different physical aspects of fitness. This time, we’re going to talk a bit more about some mental and emotional aspects of fitness—specifically the deceptively complicated principle of goal-setting.

square blog 12/21

How to Improve Body Composition: 3 Things to Know

Learn how to change body composition, or the proportion of lean muscle and fat mass in your body, through strength and weight training for best results.

12.23.20 - Progressive Overload

6 Ways to Beat an Exercise Plateau with Progressive Overload

Learn how to overcome your strength plateaus using progressive overload. Find tips on safe training while increasing your load and making gains.