Exercises During First Trimester of Pregnancy: What Is Safe and What to Avoid

One of the most common myths about pregnancy is that the expecting mother should not strain herself physically, and should avoid exercise to be on safer side during her gestation period. Today scientific research conducted all over the world has proved this just to be a myth and nothing more.

Obstetricians and gynecologists now recommend exercise even during first trimester of pregnancy, because it is known to help in healthy development of the baby and general health of the woman. Of course, complete rest is advised in some exceptional cases.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise is known to increase the energy levels, reduce sleeplessness, enhance mood, keep away back-pain, help digestion, and improve elimination of bodily wastes. Regular exercises would also help in reducing risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.


Being pregnant can be demanding mentally, emotionally and physically with problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, back pain, fatigue, and morning sickness taking its toll. A healthier body will be able to cope with the changes more capably than a tired, unhealthy body. Besides keeping the pregnant women fit, exercise will help in uplifting her disposition and self image.

The right exercises for first trimester

The right exercises during the early stages of pregnancy would be the ones that keep the body supple and pumps the heart, but at the same time, does not put undue stress on the womb where the tiny life is blossoming. Some of the exercises often recommended for pregnant women are:

  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Cycling on even surface
  • Indoor exercise cycling
  • Low impact aerobics
  • Kegel exercises
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Pilate
  • Tai chi
  • Tennis
  • Racquetball

Do not forget to reduce the intensity of these exercises during pregnancy; neither should they be performed in hot and humid environment. Regular exercise regime followed during the pregnancy will increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus, keeping it healthy and active.

Getting ready to sweat it out

Avoid wearing tight clothes or clothes that may cause fall. The breasts will be getting ready for lactation, hence support them with right bra to avoid aches and pain. Taking care to avoid footwear or surfaces which are slippery is also important, as a bad fall during the first trimester of pregnancy may result in miscarriage. Drink plenty of water, fluids and eat a regular healthy diet to nourish the body. Try to maintain the regular breathing during exercise, if you feel out of breath that is the sign to slow down and take it easy.

When not to exercise?

Women who are diagnosed with medical complications like cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes or other health conditions which the doctors find is not suitable for physical activities, should avoid exercises. Certain pregnancy related complications which may require complete bed rest:

  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • History of premature birth
  • Weak cervix
  • Risk of early labor
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Spotting
  • Low positioned placenta
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sensing of abdominal contractions

The healthy growth and safety of the baby and would be mother is the most important part of the pregnancy, therefore, always consult the health care provider before and during the exercise program so that they will offer proper guidelines keeping in mind the health of both the mother and baby.