Exercising When Trying to Conceive or Pregnant

In Chinese Medicine movement facilitates the qi, and removes stagnation; it’s essential to keep the blood and qi moving for a healthy endometrial lining and pregnancy and can be a great stress reliever as well. It can be as simple as taking a daily walk for 30 minutes, attending a couple fitness or yoga classes a week, or hiking one of our beautiful desert trails.

Being overweight is associated with longer times to conception, irregular ovulation and menses and miscarriage. It is also a risk factor not only for preterm delivery, but also for medical complications during pregnancy, like hypertension, diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Recent research also suggests that being overweight during pregnancy increases the risk that your offspring will also be overweight and is at a higher risk for diabetes and hypertension. Consuming a well-balanced, whole foods diet combined with regular physical exercise is an effective way to control weight.  Contrary to what many may think, recent research has found that exercise before and during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of pre-term delivery: each extra 3 hours of exercise lowers the risk by 10%. There are conditions in which exercise, especially vigorous, is not advised; including significant cramping, bleeding, and others as advised by your OB. 

If you are regularly active, it is safe to continue, but stay away from very strenuous exercise, abdominal/core strengthening and inversion after ovulation, with a positive pregnancy test, or early in pregnancy. Yoga for preconception or prenatal can be a great option, but hot yoga is not recommended.

After an embryo transfer or intra-uterine insemination, it is best to rest the three days after, and keep your heartbeat under 100 beats per minute in the first 10 weeks after transfer.  After the first trimester, the woman can return to her normal exercise routine, with the consent of her OB.

Here are some of the benefits from exercise during pregnancy you may experience according to American Pregnancy Association:

  • Helps reduce backaches, constipations, bloating, and swelling

  • May help prevent, or treat, gestational diabetes

  • Increase energy

  • Improve mood

  • Improves your posture

  • Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance

  • Helps you sleep better

  • Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your ability to cope with labor. This will make it easier for you to get back in shape after your baby is born.

You will probably want to avoid these types of exercises during pregnancy:

  • Activities where falling is more likely

  • Exercise that may cause any abdominal trauma, including activities that with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction

  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing

  • Bouncing while stretching

  • Waist twisting movements while standing

  • Intense bursts of exercise followed by long periods of no activity

  • Exercise in hot, humid weather

  • Do not hold your breath for an extended period of time

  • Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion

You may want to include these basic guidelines in planning exercise during pregnancy:

  • Be sure to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes, as well as, a good supportive bra.

  • Choose well-fitting shoes that are designed for the type of exercise you are doing.

  • Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury.

  • Eat enough healthy calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy, as well as, your exercise program.

  • Finish eating at least one hour before exercising (see pregnancy nutrition handout)

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

  • After doing floor exercises, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.


Lindsey Cusey, Lindsey@fithappygirl.com & MckenzieSmalley, Mckenzie@fithappygirl.com Certified personal trainers, and paleo nutrition specialists offering individual and small group training; discounts to ilumina patients.

Prenatal/Fertility yoga at several local studios, including Modern Milk & Moksha listed on the resources page

American College OBGYN recs 


Arcadia Women’s Wellness