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The Bump Editors

Fun Exercise Ideas For Pregnant Women

Learn exercises that'll help you stay in shape—and not completely bore you.

With role models around like New York Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe, who trained throughout her pregnancy, it's clear that exercise doesn't need to stop when pregnancy begins.

Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day (with your doctor's approval, of course), and you'll lower your risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Exercise is also associated with shorter labor and speedier recovery—a pretty good deal, if you ask us.

"If you're pregnant, get active!" says Jill Dailey McIntosh, a mother of three who spread her own workout plan, The Dailey Method—a mix of ballet, core exercises and stretching—across Northern California and Chicago. "One of the biggest bonuses of working out while you're pregnant is the recovery time," she says. "If you're working out consistently, the baby weight can come off in as little as a month or two."

Exercise will also help build and maintain endurance, something you'll be glad to have come pushing time. And, as long as your pregnancy is complication-free and your doctor gives her permission, you can keep up your routine as long as you like. "I actually either taught a class or took a class the day I went into labor with all three of my kids," McIntosh recalls.

But you don't need to go to extremes to have a fit pregnancy. Start simple with these fun ideas:

Swimming

Why it’s good
The pool lets you feel weightless for a change, taking a load off joints and compressed organs while you work a wide range of muscle groups.

What to try
Gentle laps or a basic water aerobics class.

Yoga

Why it’s good
Not only is yoga great for your body, you’ll learn breathing and relaxation techniques that can be a big help during labor, and positions to try if you’ll be going sans epidural.

What to try
Prenatal yoga or a basic, level-one class.

Pilates

Why it’s good
Since it focuses on your core, Pilates can improve your posture, prevent backaches and even help when it’s time for you to push.

What to try
Prenatal mat classes or a basic mat class.

Belly dancing

Why it’s good
The traditional Middle Eastern dance was used in ancient times to help women get ready for childbirth, soothing baby and preparing the body for delivery.

What to try
Any class you can find! Or a good DVD.

Plus, More from The Bump:

Create a Pregnancy Workout Plan

Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule

10 Pregnancy Superfoods