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When to be careful about exercise

Physical activity is safe and healthy if your pregnancy is uncomplicated. But if you have a medical condition or had problems in a previous pregnancy, you should speak to your doctor or midwife before exercising.

We have listed some of these health problems here but it is important to get medical advice if you have any other worries or symptoms.

There are some situations where you should avoid exercises or stop exercising, for example if you have vaginal bleeding or have any pain.

Read more about exercising safely during pregnancy.

Exercising during pregnancy if you have a health problem

Talk to your GP, midwife or specialist about how active you can be during your pregnancy if you have any serious medical conditions. Serious problems include heart or lung disease, epilepsy, diabetes that is not well controlled, and anaemia.

Blood pressure problems

Talk to your GP, midwife or specialist for advice on exercise if you have high blood pressure in pregnancy They may recommend exercising as a way of managing your blood pressure

Previous pregnancy losses

If you have had 3 or more miscarriages in a row, speak to your doctor or midwife before exercising during pregnancy. 

High risk of preterm birth

Studies show that exercise alone does not cause preterm birth.

Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have had a previous preterm birth or late miscarriage, or you have been told you have a higher risk of premature labour. There is a chance that exercise could worsen an existing problem, such as a weak cervix.

Pelvic pain 

If you have pelvic girdle pain (PGP), also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), you may find it harder to move around. Some exercises may make the pain worse. 

Find out how to exercise safely with PGP/SPD.

Multiple pregnancy

Talking to your midwife about exercising if you are expecting more than one baby

Staying active during pregnancy is important for your health and wellbeing. Your doctor or midwife may recommend low-impact exercises, such as swimming, pregnancy yoga, Pilates and walking


If you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, then you will need to take extra care when exercising. For example:

  • speak to your maternity team first
  • check your blood glucose levels before and after exercising
  • eat a healthy snack before exercising
  • listen to your body and rest when you need to

Find out more about exercising with gestational diabetes.

Eating disorders

It is important to get advice from your doctor or midwife if you have an eating disorder, or have had one in the past.

Your healthcare professional should give you more advice on managing your symptoms, weight change and healthy eating in pregnancy. Eating Disorders and Pregnancy has more information specifically for pregnant people with eating disorders.

Find out more about eating disorders in pregnancy.

  1.  DHSC (2020). Physical activity guidelines: UK Chief Medical Officers’ report. Department of Health and Social Care  
  2.  Mottola MF, Davenport MH, Ruchat S-M et al. (2018) No. 367-2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy. Joint SOGC/CSEP Clinical practice guideline. 2018; 40 (11): 1528-1537
  3.  Newton ER, May L (2017) Adaptation of Maternal-Fetal Physiology to Exercise in Pregnancy: The Basis of Guidelines for Physical Activity in Pregnancy. Clin Med Insights Womens Health. 2017; 10: 1179562X17693224.
  4.  Yang X, Li H, Zhao Q et al (2022). Clinical Practice Guidelines That Address Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. 2022; 67: 53-68.
  5.  NICE (2019) Hypertension in pregnancy: diagnosis and management: NICE guideline 133. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence 
  6.  ACOG (2020). Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. Committee Opinion Number 804. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  7.  NHS. Pelvic pain in pregnancy. (Page last reviewed: 12 December2022. Next review due: 12 December 2025)
  8.  ACOG (2021) Multiple Pregnancy: FAQs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 
  9.  Diabetes UK. Treatments for gestational diabetes: physical activity and diabetes in pregnancy. (Page accessed Oct 2022)  
  10.  Diabetes UK. Managing your diabetes during pregnancy. (Accessed Oct 2022)