Five Easy, Dual Purpose Ways to Exercise in Late Pregnancy

In the last few weeks of pregnancy we are generally tired, often feeling a bit off balance, and something almost always hurts. But we still need to get a bit of purposeful movement in so we can help our digestion, keep blood flowing evenly, and perhaps even walk baby down a bit.

Toward the end of both my pregnancies I was dealing with sciatica, but I was so eager for baby to get here that the movement needed to have the house and baby items ready was welcomed. It made me feel happy and energized. It helped me build a sense of excitement about the future. Going up and down the stairs to put away baby clothes and blankets, stockpiling food for a couple weeks after the baby arrived, and arranging space for baby’s clothes and necessities was plenty of a workout for me. During my second pregnancy I had a preschooler to take care of, and I had a small raised garden to tend as well, so even more movement every day. It doesn’t usually take any extra time out of your day, just a shift in thought and perhaps a little more of a hustle in your step to get your heart rate up just a tad (if it’s ok with your doctor).

***Speaking of doctors, I’m not a doctor, midwife, or exercise guru of any kind, so obviously you’re going to have to use your own judgment if you use these suggestions. If your health professional has instructed you to take things easy, by all means, do so. These are just ideas for pregnant mamas who are looking to add a bit more activity to their weeks without working up another annoying sweat and using precious time and energy when there already seems like there’s enough to do in a day.***

And with the disclaimer out of the way:

Here are 5 dual purpose ways to get some movement in that won’t be a waste of time and energy. You are most likely doing the majority of these at least weekly, so perhaps just a different frame of mind can turn them into a gentle workout.

One: Laundry


Even if you only have one kid so far you’re probably already running a load a day. Collecting, washing, and putting away laundry may be a chore, but it needs to be done, so why not use it to your full advantage. I just put a load on to wash, and put a load away. That took me on multiple trips to four separate rooms of our house, one of which required I walk a flight of stairs, and I did a nice deep squat to put clothes away in a bottom drawer. Don’t tell me that wasn’t a light workout.

Two: Gardening or Yard Work

In no way am I saying you should be the one pushing the lawn mower, using the weed eater, or shoveling mulch!  Think light weeding, watering, picking vegetables, deadheading roses, spreading a few handfuls of soil amendment, or spraying soapy water on aphids.

These mild activities get you a bit of sunshine, some walking, a few deep squats, and most likely a bit of mild stretching. Even just watering, weeding and harvesting my tomatoes, bell peppers, and cantaloupe is enough to make me feel a sense of physical accomplishment.

Three: Cleaning the House

Any decent amount of vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, toilet scrubbing, clearing out the refrigerator, taking the trash out, transferring items to where they actually belong, bed making, toy tidying, …ok, I’m tired. You get the picture.

Four: Grocery Shopping

grocery store

This is where being absent minded comes in handy, because I am very sure I cover at least a mile every time we go grocery shopping. We are clear in the dairy section, nearly done, when I realize I forgot one crucial item in the veggie department…clear across the store. Also, at our store some of our favorite canned items are on the bottom shelf. So I do a few deep squats to get the 8-10 cans we need for the next week.

Even with my husband insisting I don’t grocery shop alone I still get a fair amount of movement in every time we go. Especially since once you get the groceries home you have to get them into the house and put away. Cereal up on the shelf, veggies in the bottom drawer of the ‘fridge, toilet paper across the house to the hall closet,…you get the idea.

Five: Preparing for Baby

Whether you are preparing meals for after the birth, deep cleaning to assuage your nesting urges, arranging a nursery, decluttering so you have space for this new family member’s clothes and necessities, or getting diapers and clothes purchased, washed and put away, you are on the move. Don’t discount this when you are tallying up your personal weekly exercise quota.

So how about you?

What are some of your thoughts or ideas to add to this list?

What are some ways you are already incorporating this dual purpose concept into your daily exercise habits?

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