Cincinnati Family Magazine

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April 22, 2024

Expecting: A Fit Pregnancy, is a Happy Pregnancy

Exercising with a bun in the oven is good for you mentally and physically — and it just may make your labor go quicker, too!

Fitness During Pregnancy …

Some expecting moms want to jump right on the treadmill as soon as they’re over the nausea, and others can’t even think about getting out of their comfy chair. Of course, every pregnant mom needs rest, but finding a balance between resting and moving has health benefits for moms and babies on all levels of health.

Anna Parizh, D.O., with Kettering Physician Network Women’s Health and Fort Hamilton Hospital, says that exercise during pregnancy has benefits beyond just physical — it can decrease psychological stressors, anxiety, respiratory health, flexibility and more.

“Regular exercise may help patients avoid excessive weight gain, decrease the possibility of a large fetus and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes,” says Parizh. “There is also some evidence it may reduce the risk of high blood pressure associated with pregnancy called gestational hypertension or preeclampsia,” she adds.

If you’d like to have a quicker, smoother labor, (who wouldn’t?) a regular exercise routine may do the trick. It will certainly help you feel better.

“Regular exercise has been shown to decrease labor duration and may even aid in quicker recovery for some,” Parizh says.


With exercise and pregnancy, what’s safe and what isn’t? It’s all about your overall health and what exercise routines you followed before getting pregnant. Being physically active throughout pregnancy has a multitude of health benefits, but deciding to train for a marathon or give hot yoga a try can cause more harm than good if you’ve never done that before.

“Keeping a light or moderate exercise routine is a great way to stay fit during pregnancy, and has not been shown to cause miscarriage, preterm birth or any additional risks in uncomplicated pregnancies,” says Parizh. “A pregnant woman should always be cognizant of her own limits and follow ‘the common-sense rule’ which translates to: if it doesn’t feel comfortable, is painful or puts you at risk for falling, stop immediately, change positions, rest and hydrate.”

If you’re a woman who jogged, swam or followed a certain fitness routine before getting pregnant, it’s OK to keep going. As long as your doctor gives you a thumbs up and you’re having a low- risk pregnancy, you can continue exercising and modifying as needed.


As you move through your pregnancy, trimester to trimester, modifying your exercises is related to how you’re feeling. The further along you are in pregnancy, the more uncomfortable you will start to feel. Know when it’s time to make adjustments.

“As pregnancy progresses and the body undergoes normal physiological changes, exercise routine will usually need to be modified in order to remain effective and more importantly safe for both Mom and Baby,” says Parizh.

After the first trimester, it’s best to avoid exercises that involve lying on your back. Once you reach the third trimester, avoid any sudden or quick, jerky movements or overstretching. Change your exercises to make yourself more comfortable by using a pillow to prop up; switching from sitting or standing; or lying on your side. Most importantly, you know best, so monitor your fluid intake, fatigue and balance to avoid problems. If something is abnormal, stop and call your doctor.


Good exercise programs during pregnancy may include low-to-moderate activities such as walking, jogging, aerobics, dancing, swimming and cycling. In addition, strength movements such as resistance training, stretching, yoga and pilates are good, according to Parizh.

“Pregnant women should aim to achieve about 150 minutes of exercise per week (preferably spreading aerobic activity throughout the week), with the goal of building up to 30-minute sessions four to seven times per week,” she says.

If you haven’t engaged in any regular exercise prior to your pregnancy, stick to low-impact exercises including walking, aqua aerobics and any other low-intensity workouts. Going for 10 – 15 minutes at a time is a great way to start. Most importantly, follow your inner compass — if it hurts, don’t do it.

“The benefits of exercise in pregnancy are multiple, including its valuable effects on both physical and mental health, and should be incorporated into fit living,” suggests Parizh. “If there is any concern that your regimen is either too vigorous or lacking, discuss your routine with your doctor who can guide you on the right path for you and your bump.”

Fitness & Prenatal Classes …

Prenatal programs for your exercise routine. Just be sure to check with your doctor first before taking one on.


3330 Erie Ave., Cincinnati
Prenatal classes for all levels and more. Experienced teachers incorporate health and well-being in the practice.

Locations in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Prenatal and more. Classes are for any stage during pregnancy.

268 Ludlow Ave., Second floor, Cincinnati
Prenatal classes and more. Your partner can join in, too.

616 Main St., Covington
Gentle prenatal classes are designed to strengthen and prepare your body for childbirth.


Prenatal and postnatal aquatic fitness classes to help reduce labor time.

From Stroller X to Chair Yoga, to Warm Water classes to Yoga Lite, this health club offers an array of classes for pregnant moms and more.

6200 Pfeiffer Road, Cincinnati
Aquatic classes for all levels and ages. Aquatics strengthen the core while also being low-impact.

Low-impact aquatic classes to a variety of strength and fitness classes. A pregnant woman can find a class for her prenatal needs.

Offers “Mamawell” prenatal classes and more.

About the Author

Amanda Hayward

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a mom of three with one on the way. If she's not writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.