Exercise in Pregnancy

The fitter you are in pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and any weight that you might gain.

If you have remained active during your pregnancy, you will be able to cope with labour and regain your shape quicker after the baby is born.

Exercise whilst pregnant should never be uncomfortable, so good supportive gym gear and trainers  are essential and a worthwhile investment.

As you progress through your pregnancy, your shapes alters and the baby increases in size, you are likely to become tired quicker, so you should never exhaust yourself. As a rule, you should be able to hold a conversation while you exercise. If you become breathless as you talk, then you are probably doing too much. If you are in any doubt, talk to your maternity team.

If you weren’t active before you were pregnant, now is probably not a good time to begin a new strenuous exercise programme. Instead, gentle walking, no more than 15minutes, three times a week, is a good start. This can be increased gradually to a maximum of 30 minutes, four times a week.

If you do join a class, be sure to tell your instructor or join a class that is especially designed for pregnancy.

Exercise Tips When you are Pregnant

  • Always warm up and cool down
  • Try to keep active on a daily basis, gentle walking is better than nothing
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather
  • Drink plenty of fluids especially water
  • If you go to an exercise class, ensure you teacher is appropriately qualified and that you tell them that you are pregnant and how many weeks
  • Swimming is particularly good as is supports your weight and there is no pressure on your joints
  • Wear good quality supportive gym wear.

Exercise to Avoid

  • After 16 weeks, your bump presses down on your major blood vessels so exercises involving lying on your back might make you feel faint.
  • Don’t take part in contact sports
  • Don’t take part in any exercise that increases the risk of falling like horse riding, cycling or skiing
  • Do not go scuba diving as the baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism
  • Don’t exercise at heights over 2500m above sea level until you have acclimatised this is because you and your baby are at risk of altitude sickness

If you are unsure about exercising whilst pregnant, check with your maternity team.

Maternity Healthcare Specialist, Bristol.