exercising pregnant women

Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

Many women ask their healthcare providers if it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy. Assuming you are a having a healthy pregnancy, light exercise won’t harm the baby, and it could actually make the pregnancy and birth easier for you. Exercise will keep you fit, and allow you to better adjust to your changing body throughout the pregnancy. Keeping fit will also help to prepare you for the birth itself.

Having said that, there are certain activities you will want to avoid. Contact sports and extreme sports, for instance, are not advisable for pregnant women due to the risks of falling or being hit.

Safe exercise during pregnancy:

Many pregnant women choose to continue, or start, swimming during the first trimester and continue until the end of the pregnancy. The water supports the weight of your bump, so you will find it relatively easy to glide through the water. You could choose to swim lengths, or your local pool may offer aquanatal classes that you could attend. Not only is this a great way to exercise, you’ll also meet other soon to be mums in your local area.

Jogging or running
If you were a keen runner or jogger before the pregnancy, then you are fine to continue this activity. You may want to tailor your runs to fit with your pregnancy, for example shortening the distance or slowing down the pace of the runs as your pregnancy progresses. If you didn’t run or jog before the pregnancy, then you should try walking during pregnancy instead as this will put less strain on your body.

Walking is a great way to keep fit during pregnancy. It shouldn’t put too much strain on your changing body, but will help to keep you active. Why not build a half hour walk into your daily routine, this could be as simple as getting off the bus a few stops early on your commute to work.

Yoga or pilates
Both of these exercises are very popular with pregnant women, and there are many prenatal classes on offer across the country. Yoga and pilates focus on flexibility and muscle strength. Both exercises also focus on relaxation and breathing techniques that will be great to utilise during labour. If you are taking a class such as yoga or pilates, always tell the instructor that you are pregnant as this will allow them to alter activities for you.

You may find that as the pregnancy progresses, you need to reduce the amount of exercise you take because you feel tired more easily. Listen to your body, and don’t try to overexert yourself. Don’t overdo it. Monitor your breathing. As long as you can still talk and not run out of breath, you’re probably doing the exercise at the right intensity. Be sure to drink plenty of water while you exercise, and stop exercising if you start to feel faint. If you are a high risk pregnancy, please speak to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockIs it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

Comments 19

  1. Amanda

    I am currently 5 weeks and 5 days pregnant and I already have one beautiful healthy boy who recently just turned 5 and in 2014 I lost my second baby boy to a major heart defect had to give birth to him at 24 weeks and just last year I had a miscarriage with my 3rd so I’m at my 4th pregnancy and currently at nearly 6 weeks feeling great😊 should I be doing exercises or shall I wait on my early scan and to see the doc again reasons being because of my history thanks ladies =)

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  4. Pia

    I am a outdoor pursuits instructor and i am 5 weeks 4 days and i am still kayaking,canoeing and sailing ! I also work as a climbing instructor just got make sure your listening to your body as it goes.

  5. Sarah Coles

    Climbing is an extreme sports but you can still climb while pregnant. My climbing centre loan out full body harnesses for during pregnancy so the clip point is above the bump.
    As long as you’re sensible climbing, not throwing yourself off things, then there’s no problem.
    You can even Google pictures of women climbing while pregnant.

  6. Melina

    I have PCOS and 5weeks pregnant with my second baby (or second and third… My 3yo is telling everyone that I have a baby sister anda baby brother in my belly!) and I still crossfit 2 to 3 times a week. My doctor is perfectly fine with it. Jumping, weightlifting, running, I can do everythinh as long as I feel confortable 🙂 I just have to be careful not to drop the weights on my head lol 😉

  7. Michelle

    Stacey – The best person to ask would be your doctor or midwife! – Team Health & Parenting

  8. Stacey

    I’m 5 weeks and captain of the hockey team, my last gAme is 3rd Dec. Is this gonna be ok?

  9. aprilita

    before pregnant, i used to yoga twice a week. is it okay to join yoga again in my first trisemester? or I have to wait till pass it? thanks for your info ❤

  10. Kimberly

    I’ve always continued running and lifting weights well into my 7th month. After that I usually walk at a comfortable pace. This time around I am not as active due to my injuries from my time in the Army, so now I am happy if I can do 30 mins a day on an elliptical or bike.

  11. Kiki

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get my arms toned during pregnancy. I was pretty inactive before but having just found out I’m pregnant I’m trying to pick up a healthier routine 30/45 min walks in the evening. Any suggestions?

  12. Polemum

    I’m still doing my intermediate-advanced pole fitness classes. As long as I don’t go out of my comfort zone it’s ok. Everyone I know in the pole community carry on while pregnant. As long as you stick at what you’re comfortable with then there’s no danger. A fit pregnancy is a happy one! I have no negative symptoms this time around but with my first (inactive pregnancy in comparison) I had everything you could think of.

  13. Andrea

    I hit the gym twice a day just like normal the bigger I get the better I adjust but working out is something I do at least once a day.

  14. madeline

    Zumba is totally fine and great way to stay fit – as long as it feels good. Jumping should be reduced or avoided, especially in the first trimester. But if you listen to your body, you’ll know. Even though my bump came late (3rd tri), I didn’t like jumping or certain kinds of movement almost from the beginning in my Zumba, Fitness and Yoga classes. Right now I am in week 39 and enjoy my daily walk, a small bike ride or some pregnancy yoga. I hope I’ll be fit for labour… We’ll see. 🙂

  15. Fit-mama

    I weight lift, staying in the comfortable range of 15 lb dumbells and 40lb dumbells. For me this is light exercise since I don’t need to exert myself any.