Exercise Guidelines during Pregnancy


by Nashville personal trainer Dan DeFigio

Most ob/gyn experts are gradually doing away with many pregnancy exercise guidelines, because as time goes on, it appears that normal exercise is just fine for most pregnant women. Ask your doctor for current recommendations.


  1. Don’t add anything new to your exercise program during your first pregnancy. First pregnancies can be fragile, and if you haven’t been working out, the first trimester of your first pregnancy is not the time to initiate a new Pilates class or a new strength training routine. Stick with walking if you’re new to exercise and pregnant for the first time.
  2. No supine positions (lying on your back) after the first trimester. This can cause supine hypertensive syndrome where the expanding uterus cuts off circulation to the brain, which can cause you to get dizzy or pass out.
  3. Check for diastasis recti on a regular basis. This is a splitting of the rectus abdominis muscle. It’s not a big problem, but if it happens, you’ll have to know how to modify your abdominal exercises. Ask your doctor how to check for this condition.
  4. No hip abduction or adduction after the 4th month.
  5. No full squats or full lunges after the first trimester – stick to partial ranges of motion for these exercises.
  6. Exercises in a prone position (lying on your stomach) are not recommended.
  7. Limit pulse to 140 bpm when exercising, especially if you are sensitive to overheating.
  8. Restrict caffeine – it’s bad for the baby. And DEFINITELY don’t use artificial sweeteners while you’re pregnant!
  9. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol – DUH!
  10. Be sure to eat something 30 minutes before your workout. A rapid drop in blood sugar levels can harm the fetus during the last trimester.

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