Staying fit and healthy while you’re pregnant — especially if you were slacking on your workouts before you saw those two little blue lines — can be tricky. You don’t want to push yourself too hard and end up hurting the baby, but at the same time, you don’t want to waste your time with a workout that’s too easy or doesn’t have any real benefits.
We’ve found the perfect middle point — and you don’t even have to pay for a gym membership to take advantage of these awesome workouts, because they’re all on YouTube. Here are some of the best prenatal workouts we’ve found online, as well as our opinions of each.
And, since you won’t want to do the same workout in your third trimester you did in your first, we’re recommending a few options for each stage of your pregnancy.
Disclaimer: Before starting any workout, make sure you talk to your doctor first to ensure you are healthy enough to attempt at-home exercise.
First Trimester Prenatal Workouts
Finding the time to work out between work, school, morning sickness and tending to your other children can be difficult. Good news: You can do this fantastic little toning workout in 10 to 20 minutes a day, and it works most of your major muscle groups with low-intensity motions while still avoiding any exercises that cause you to twist your core or lie on your back.
That isn’t to say you should avoid core exercises — a strong core is necessary for a healthy pregnancy, and also helps you get your body back into shape after the baby is born.
You don’t really need weights to build stronger muscles and bones. This comprehensive workout uses only bodyweight exercises — those that use the weight of your own body against you — and is specifically designed for women in their first trimester. However, women in any stage of pregnancy can do it, as demonstrated by the star of the video, who is in her third trimester.
It also features modifications for any fitness level.
If you need healthy cardio exercises to burn calories and get your heart rate up, HIIT — high-intensity interval training — can be a great option. This prenatal HIIT workout is primarily for women in their first and second trimester, though there are some low-impact options for women in their third trimester if they wish to continue working out through the end of their pregnancy.
The woman who leads this workout video was 18 weeks pregnant at the time of filming, so it demonstrates beautifully how you can stay healthy and get your heart rate up during pregnancy.
Second Trimester Prenatal Workouts
Once the morning sickness is gone, it’s tempting to start enjoying all those unhealthy snacks again, but don’t let the lack of nausea entice you into wasting your hard work. This toning workout is designed to help you stay trim and healthy throughout your second trimester, while your baby is spending his or her time growing and kicking the crap out of your internal organs.
The video also features women in all three trimesters to demonstrate different modifications for each.
If you only have a few minutes to exercise during your second trimester, for whatever reason, this five-minute workout can be an excellent option. Each exercise targets a specific muscle group and lets you get your heart rate up while toning all your muscles. The only muscle group that is lacking in this exercise routine is the upper body — there is only one upper-body exercise in this short workout — but you can easily make up for that by just picking up your kid a few times.
As your baby continues to grow, high-impact workouts will eventually become uncomfortable or downright painful, which is where this outstanding prenatal Pilates workout comes in. You can knock out this quick routine in less than 10 minutes, and it strengthens the upper and lower body without any impact at all. Many of these moves are also excellent for balance, which tends to get more difficult during the second and third trimester.
Third Trimester Prenatal Workouts
High-intensity workouts might not be something you think of doing during your third trimester, but the high-cardio, low-impact exercises in this workout are perfect for any mama-to-be in the last months of her pregnancy. Now, instructor Marcie is a certified personal trainer, but you can adjust all the exercises she demonstrates in the video to match your fitness level.
Yes, we know it feels like you get your daily cardio workout just trying to roll out of bed in the morning, but if you need something to change up your fitness routine a little bit, this is an excellent option.
Once that baby is born, you’re going to need plenty of strength to carry that new bundle of joy around. This 30-minute dumbbell strength exercise is perfect — it gives you a cardio warmup and cool-down, then 24 minutes of alternating exercises — three strength, one cardio. As with most of these pregnancy workouts, it’s suitable for any trimester, but the woman demonstrating these exercises is in her third trimester, so she has modified the routine to accommodate that swiftly growing belly bump.
Prenatal workouts don’t have to be boring, as Kiaira La Shae demonstrates in this fun little dance cardio workout. This is one of those workouts you’ll probably hang onto long after your new little one is born. It’s a low-impact workout that’s ideal for women in their third trimester, but women in any trimester can enjoy it, as well as women who are no longer pregnant.
Working out during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be a chore, but it is important to ensure both you and your baby are healthy. Staying fit during your pregnancy makes it easier for you to get back to your pre-baby body after your new bundle of joy finally makes their first appearance. Again, talk to your doctor before you start exercising, but once your OB/GYN has given you the all-clear, enjoy yourself and your healthy pregnancy!