Arm Exercises for Pregnant Women

by Barbara Diggs

About Barbara Diggs

Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in France. A former corporate lawyer, she has been writing professionally since 2006. She has been published in numerous print and online magazines, specializing in travel, parenting, history and law. Diggs is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School.


You may be ready to be a mom, but you’re not ready to have “mom arms.” Don’t worry -- even though you’re pregnant, there’s no need to succumb to having flabby or undefined arms. As long as you have the go-ahead from your doctor, you can do various arm-toning exercises throughout the three trimesters of your pregnancy. Remember, however, that you should warm up with stretches beforehand and stop these exercises immediately if you feel dizzy, nauseous, extremely fatigued, or experience cramping, contractions or spotting.

Shoulder Lateral Lifts

Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Take a 3 lb. to 8 lb. dumbbell in each hand, keeping your palms facing inward with your hands at the level of your hips. Keeping your back straight and abdominals contracted, slightly bend your elbows, then raise your arms to the side, leading the movement with your elbows. Don’t let your arms go above shoulder height. Lower your arms back to your hips, remembering to keep your shoulders down. Do one or two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Triceps Toner

Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor, allowing your upper back to rest against the back of the chair. Grasp a 8 lb. to 10 lb. dumbbell vertically between your thumbs and forefingers and hold it behind your head with your elbows bent, pointing toward the ceiling. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, squeeze your shoulder blades together while keeping your shoulders down. Lift the dumbbell toward the ceiling by straightening your arms while keeping your elbows still. Lower your arms to the original position. Repeat 10 times in two sets. Suzanne E. Stipe of “FitPregnancy” magazine notes that this exercise will help shape the back of your upper arms and shoulders. She also points out that this exercise can be performed standing in the first trimester, and that in the third trimester you may want to put a pillow behind your back for support.

Dumbbell Biceps Curls

Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp a 3 lb. to 10 lb. dumbbell in each hand, while letting your arms hang by your sides. Your elbows should be tucked against your side with palms facing forward. Keeping your back straight and abdominals tight, curl the dumbbell in your right hand toward your shoulder, keeping your elbows still. Lower the right arm to its starting position, and then repeat the action with your left arm. If you feel up to it, do one or two sets of eight to 10 repetitions.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or