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Pre and Postnatal Exercises: Do’s and Don’ts

We have often seen many women staying fit and following their healthy lifestyle during and after pregnancy, but due to some old beliefs and taboos, many of us are still a little hesitant to practice any exercises during and after pregnancy. 

According to parenting blogs like FirstCry and Rock the Cradle, indulging in exercises during pregnancy can ease and shorten the labor period as well as help after giving birth. 

Benefits of Prenatal Exercises 

  • Improved Blood Circulation for the mother and the baby.
  • Reduction in leg cramps and water retention.
  • Less gastrointestinal discomfort. 
  • Reduced lower back pain.
  • Prevention of postural imbalance like curving of the upper body and curving of the lower spine. 
  • Shorter and less painful labor.

Benefits of Postnatal Exercises 

  • Strengthens and tones up the body. 
  • Helps in sculpting abdominal muscles that were stretched out during pregnancy. 
  • Boosts energy. 
  • Relieves stress and helps you sleep better.
  • Gets you back in shape and promotes a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Enhances Fertility.

Prenatal Stage Guidelines 

  • Avoid exercises that focus on the core and can cause any abdominal trauma like jumping and sit-ups.
  • Avoid exercises that can speed up your heartbeat and cause extreme sweating and perspiration. 
  • Avoid exercises that require balance. 
  • Consult a professional during stretching exercises. 
  • Do not hold your breath while performing any exercise. 
  • Do not extend any aerobic activity for more than 20 minutes. 
  • As pregnancy proceeds, limit the duration and intensity of the exercises. 
  • Consult a medical and fitness professional before and during the workout regime. 

Postnatal Exercises Guidelines 

  • Give your body the right time to heal before jumping into any intense workout activity. 
  • Consult a medical and fitness professional for at least 3 months after giving birth. 
  • Begin with indoor exercises that focus on core strengthening. 
  • Start going on light walks. 
  • Use resistance bands instead of weight. 
  •  You can start a moderate-intensity workout like swimming and jogging, after consulting your medical professional.
  • Avoid running and jumping. 
  • Do not lift heavy weights or stretch without professional supervision. 
  • Avoid activities that need sudden movements or fast reflexes. 

Prenatal Exercises

(Note: These exercises are not to be performed without consultation of your medical and fitness professional) 


Light walking without causing a lot of stress on the joints and muscles is a great activity to indulge in during pregnancy. Do not stress out your joints or muscles and stop if you feel that your body temperature is rising. 


It is a go-to activity for many women during pregnancy as it doesn’t stress the muscles and joints too much. According to March of Dimes, it is actually a great activity if you’re experiencing lower back pain. 

Riding A Stationary Bike

It is a good activity to keep your heart healthy without any risk of tripping or falling. Make sure your stationary bike is placed properly and do not go overboard with the speed setting, keep it light and breezy.

Postnatal Exercises 

Breathing Exercises 

It is an easy way to destress your body post-pregnancy. You can just lie down on your back and practice deep breaths in a rhythmic pattern of inhaling for 5 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds and then exhaling it for 5 seconds. 


It is the best way to connect with nature and your baby. Stroll down the path at a light pace with your baby for at least 10-20 minutes every day. You can also add some squats in intervals if you feel ready for it and your doctor has given you a go-ahead for it. 


There are many yoga classes designed especially for new parents. If you don’t have any such classes near you, you can always just inform your regular yoga instructor. Yoga can help relieve stress, improve body posture and help in relieving any pain stuck in the body. 

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