10 tips for staying active in pregnancy

Being active is safe and healthy during pregnancy. If you were not very active before becoming pregnant, now is a great time to start. Here are some tips on how to be more active in your daily life. Then you can gradually build up how much you do.

Try to be active for at least 150 minutes every week.

Whichever activities you choose, you are more likely to stick with them if you do things you enjoy.

Remember to exercise safely and stop if something doesn’t feel right.

1. Walk when you can

Walking is an easy and safe way to exercise during pregnancy. You do not need any equipment other than a pair of comfortable shoes and you can slow down as your bump gets bigger.

There are lots of ways to fit walking into your day. You could walk instead of getting the bus or get off a few stops early. If you have other children, you could walk them to school or nursery. Or you could go for regular walks with a friend.

2. Get out and about during your lunch break

Start with a short stroll and build up to a longer brisk walk. A break from the workplace will also help boost your mood.

3. Climb the stairs instead of getting the lift

Climbing the stairs is a great activity for strengthening your muscles and improving your balance. If you are on a high floor, try getting out of the lift a few floors early instead.

4. Exercise your arms with everyday activities

Lifting shopping bags or older children will help strengthen your arm muscles. Avoid lifting anything that is too heavy or causes you to strain. Try to spread the weight between both arms. Remember to bend at the knees, hold your tummy muscles in and keep your back straight.

5. Put lots of energy into housework

Make housework 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.

6. Do some gardening

If you have a garden, cutting the grass, weeding, and planting are all good ways of getting some exercise with the added boost of vitamin D from the sunshine. Always wear gloves when you are gardening to protect against a rare infection called toxoplasmosis.

7. Have a dance to your favourite music

For a fun and low-impact way to exercise, why not try dancing? You can dance anywhere, alone, with other children if you have them or with friends or family.

8. Take up some easy organised exercise

Aerobics classes are a good way to boost your fitness. You could also try swimming, power-walking, pregnancy yoga or using an exercise (static) bike. Whatever works for you.

If you join a class, always tell the instructor that you are pregnant before you start. They may need to change some movements in the routine to suit you.

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

9. Exercise at home

If you prefer to exercise at home, look out for online videos or DVDs. The Active Pregnancy Foundation has online pregnancy exercise videos.

Or try our quick and easy pregnancy workout.

10. Don’t forget your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor muscles support your womb, bowel and bladder. Being pregnant can put pressure on these muscles and you may find you leak urine when you cough or sneeze.

Doing pelvic floor exercises will tone and strengthen these muscles, helping to prevent leaks as well as helping you during and after the birth.

More information

The Active Pregnancy Foundation 
They support women to stay active throughout pregnancy and beyond. They provide expertise and advice to pregnant and postnatal women, as well as healthcare and fitness professionals.

  1.  DHSC (2020). Physical activity guidelines: UK Chief Medical Officers’ report. Department of Health and Social Care https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-guidelines-uk-chief-medical-officers-report
  2.  NHS. Exercise in pregnancy. Exercise in pregnancy - NHS (www.nhs.uk) (Page last reviewed: 15 March 2023 Next review due: 15 March 2026)
  3.  NHS. How to improve your strength and flexibility. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/strength-and-flexibility-exercises/how-to-improve-strength-flexibility/ (Page last reviewed: 18 November 2022. Next review due: 18 November 2025)
  4.  NHS. Back pain in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/back-pain/ (Page last reviewed: 15 March 2021. Next review due: 15 March 2024)
  5.  NHS. Toxoplasmosis. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/toxoplasmosis/ (Page last reviewed: 10 September 2020 Next review due: 10 September 2023)
Review dates
Reviewed: 29 May 2023
Next review: 29 May 2026