If you're wondering if it's safe to exercise when you're trying to get pregnant, here's some good news: Starting a workout routine and being active is a big move in the right direction when you're trying to conceive. Exercise, after all, plays a huge role in overall health and wellness and can help prepare your body for conception and pregnancy.

Here's what you need to know about getting and staying fit when you're TTC.

What are the benefits of exercise when you're trying to get pregnant?

These days, experts like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) urge women who are expecting or planning to get pregnant to get more physically active.[1] Why? Regular workouts get your body in top baby-making shape by toning muscles including your heart, which has to pump up to 50 percent more blood to supply you and your growing baby.

Exercise reduces stress, which has been shown by numerous studies to block the best conception efforts, and it helps you to sleep better.[2] And working out on the regular can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important since pregnancy is not the time to try and lose pounds — and being overweight or obese during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

It's a good idea to get a fitness routine in place before you get pregnant, so you'll have an easier time mustering the get-up-and-go when working up the energy is tougher. But even when motivation is tough to come by, those pregnancy workouts are well worth the effort. 

Once you do get pregnant, exercise offers loads of benefits, reducing the risk of pregnancy complications and the severity of common pregnancy symptoms like back aches and bloating, all while likely boosting your baby's brain development and heart health. Big bonus: Being in shape will even help make delivery day go more smoothly.

The good news is, it's never too late to start exercising. With the okay from their doctors, even couch-surfers can ease into a new workout routine before and even during pregnancy given the right guidance.

How much exercise should you aim for when trying to conceive?

Experts across the board say women who are trying to get pregnant or who already have a bun in the oven should aim for a moderate exercise routine of 150 minutes or more per week — or about 30 minutes most days of the week.[3] Remember, three 10-minute sessions count as much as one 30-minute workout.

Aside from the obvious options like aerobic exercise, strength training and yoga, anything that gets your heart pumping, even gardening or housework, is good for your body and future baby.

How much exercise is too much when I'm trying to conceive?

Most of us don't come anywhere near hitting our exercise limits whether we're trying to conceive or are already pregnant. However, if you're a seasoned athlete or regularly training for athletic competitions, there is a chance you're getting too much of a good thing. In fact, some research has shown that five or more hours of high-intensity workouts per week may increase the time it takes to conceive.

Still, that very well may be because intense training without adequate nutrition depletes your body of essential baby-making nutrients and increases the odds that you'll weigh in at an underweight body mass index (BMI), which can alter your menstrual cycle and even halt ovulation.

If you’re looking to get pregnant soon and aren't sure if your workout routines are too strenuous, now's a good time to have your doctor weigh in on your routine. He or she may also possibly hook you up with a registered dietitian to make sure you're getting the nutrition you need.

Best pre-pregnancy workouts

If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, sperm and egg can meet at any time, making you officially pregnant even if you haven’t gotten the happy confirmation from a pregnancy test. That's why you're safest sticking with workouts that get the green light for the expecting set.

Keep in mind, it's always a good idea to get your doctor's green light on your workouts. Once you get the go-ahead, be sure to listen to your body, rest when you need to, and drink plenty of water. 

When you do become pregnant, certain exercises are off-limits, especially ones with a higher risk of injury (like downhill skiing and contact sports). You will be able to go back to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine after you deliver — when you can find the time!

Here are a few exercises that are considered safe whether you're trying to conceive or are already pregnant:

Running and walking

Both walking and running are excellent cardiovascular workouts, especially since you don't need any special equipment (aside from a trusty pair of sneakers). Once you are expecting, walking is safe and recommended right up to delivery day. 

And it's perfectly fine for experienced runners to stay on track, as long as you get your doctor's okay, listen to your body and stick to level terrain. That said, now's also not the ideal time to risk injury by training for your first marathon or working toward a five-minute mile.

Strength training

Weight lifting builds muscle tone and bone strength — both of which will help keep you in top shape during pregnancy. To avoid risking injury, opt for lighter weights with more repetitions (12 to 15), or focus on resistance exercises that use your own body weight, like lunges, squats, crunches and push-ups.

Even CrossFit and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be okay when you're expecting if you've been at them for years and get the okay from your practitioner. Just avoid jumping and jarring movements. Be sure to take breathers when you need them as well as frequent water breaks.

Pilates, barre and yoga

Barre, yoga and Pilates are ideal exercises if you're trying to get pregnant, since they build strength, balance, endurance and muscle tone — all things that will help your conception efforts. 

Yoga, in particular, is designed to help you relax, which is especially important when you're TTC. That said, yoga injuries are common, and they can derail your baby-making efforts (imagine trying to get busy under the sheets with a back injury!), so it's smart  to seek out the guidance of a teacher who can help you pinpoint your body’s limits.

If you’re a fan of the super-hot Bikram yoga, you’ll probably want to cool it for now as well. This form of yoga involves doing poses in a room that’s heated to between 95 and 105 degrees, and exercising in an overly-hot room isn’t safe for a brand-new developing fetus. Talk with your yoga instructor (and your doctor) to find the yoga style that will work for you.


Swimming is low-impact exercise that builds muscle tone and offers fantastic cardiovascular benefits. Swimming, in particular, is ideal for expecting moms since it makes you feel weightless and can help relieve common early pregnancy symptoms like nausea and swelling.

Indoor cycling

As long as you've been spinning your wheels for at least six months, indoor cycling is another safe, low-impact exercise that's safe up through pregnancy. Just make sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks if you get super winded or overheated.

Signs you're overdoing it on the exercise

It might be time to tone down the frequency, pace and duration of your workouts if you feel excessively tired, irritable, have muscle or joint pain, or can't get a good night's sleep. All of these symptoms can mean you're overdoing it, whether you're pregnant or not, and putting yourself at greater risk of injury. 

Also be sure to check in with your doctor if your menstrual cycle becomes erratic, since keeping your period on track makes it a whole lot easier for egg to meet sperm.