Tommy's PregnancyHub

10 tips for staying active in pregnancy

Being active during your pregnancy is safe and healthy for you and your baby.

Spending too much time sitting down without being active can be harmful to your health and your baby’s health. It can lead to too much weight gain, loss of fitness, increased risk of getting gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia and higher likelihood of general pregnancy aches and pains.

If you didn’t exercise before becoming pregnant there are lots of different things you can do to be more active into your everyday life. Exercising during pregnancy is likely to give you more energy, help you sleep better and improve your mood.

However you choose to get active, you’re more likely to stick with it if you do something you enjoy.

1. Walk instead of taking the bus, or get off a stop early

It may sound obvious but if there's a regular journey that you do by bus, think about walking instead, or getting off a few stops early.

2. Get out and about during your lunch break

Start with a quick stroll and build up to a brisk walk. A break from your desk will be good for you.

3. Climb the stairs instead of getting the lift

Climbing the stairs is a great activity for toning your leg and stomach muscles. If you're on a very high floor though, try getting out of the lift a few floors early instead.

4. Exercise your arms with everyday activities

Prepare your arm muscles for the workout they will get when your baby arrives (but don’t lift anything too heavy). When picking up things like shopping bags, remember to bend at the knees, keep your tummy muscles held in and your back straight.

5. If you have other children, walk them to school, nursery or toddler group if it’s not too far

Walking is great way to exercise during pregnancy - it has no impact on your joints, doesn't need any special equipment and you can slow down as your bump gets bigger. Adding walking to part of your normal routine will turn it into an activity that happens without you having to think about it.

6. If you’re doing the housework, switch on some music and put lots of energy into it

Housework can be really boring. Make it less of a chore by listening to some music and viewing it as part of your activity programme. Hopefully it will make it seem more enjoyable and useful, but we can’t make any promises.

7. Take the dog for an extra walk

If you have one that is. 

8. Do some gardening

Cutting the grass, weeding and planting are all good ways of getting some exercise with the added boost of vitamin D from the sunshine.

9. Have a dance to your favourite music

It’s fun and it’s a low-impact way to exercise.

Watch this video of a mum-to-be dancing during labour.

10. Take up some easy organised exercise

If you didn’t exercise much before getting pregnant, it is still safe and healthy to start now. Begin with 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and increase it gradually to 30-minute sessions 4 days a week or every day if you can.

Aerobic exercise is a good way to boost your fitness. You could also try swimming, power-walking, pregnancy yoga or indoor cycling (or outdoor cycling if you take care not to lose your balance). Whatever works for you.

Find out more about the types of exercise you can do in pregnancy.

And one more tip for luck

Find an app that will support your efforts.

Try these fitness apps that have been approved by the NHS. Look for one that could be suitable in pregnancy.

These are the things you need to be careful about when exercising in pregnancy.

  1. RCOG (2006). Exercise in Pregnancy: Statement No. 4, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
  2. RCOG (2017). Physical activity for pregnant women (infographic).

  3. RCOG (2006). Recreational exercise and pregnancy: information for you.
Review dates
Reviewed: 31 July 2018 | Next review: 31 July 2021

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.