Making a plan for exercising in pregnancy
If you were active before you got pregnant, you should aim to keep your current level of fitness. You may find you slow down naturally towards the end of pregnancy as your bump grows.
If you haven’t exercised before, it’s a good idea to start off with 10 or 15 minutes’ continuous exercise 3 times a week, and slowly build this up.
Ideally, you should work towards 30 minutes of activity, at least 4 times a week. If you decide to start with 30 minutes, you can break it up into 10-minute blocks.
Find it difficult to get motivated? Remind yourself of the benefits of an active pregnancy.
Put pen to paper
Lots of people find that writing down the activities they have done and what they plan to do keeps them motivated. An easy way to keep track of how active you are is to fill out a weekly exercise goal sheet or record it in a diary.
There are also some free apps that can help you track your daily steps and other activities.
Download a weekly exercise goal plan.
Why does a pregnancy exercise goal plan help?
Writing down your activity goals and things you’ve already done lets you plan ahead, and you can see your achievements.
You can decide what activities you’d like to do, or what will be possible, depending on your work, any older children and other things that are going on in your life.
It’s normal to feel tired at times during your pregnancy but doing some gentle exercise will actually make you feel less tired, so try to stick to your plan.
Making a ‘Plan B’
You can also have a back-up plan if something gets in the way, such as having to work late or getting stuck in traffic.
Your Plan B could be an easy pregnancy home workout, or a quick walk with a friend or partner.
Reward your progress
If it helps, choose treats each week to reward yourself for staying active and meeting your goals. These could be things like a cinema trip, getting your nails done or just a nice bath with bubbles.
How can I make meeting my pregnancy exercise goals easier?
Make it a group activity
You may find exercising with another person more fun than doing it alone. Ask a friend or your partner if they will keep you company by walking, swimming or doing a class with you.
Count your steps
Using a pedometer (a device that counts your steps as you walk) can make it easier to keep track of your activity. Make it a competition with yourself by counting your daily or weekly steps and seeing if you can add to it bit by bit.
You may be able to download a pedometer or step-counting app to help you set targets and see how far you’ve walked.
You can add more steps by:
- walking to the shops
- getting off the bus a few stops earlier
- parking your car before you reach where you’re going and walking the rest of the way
- taking your dog for an extra walk
- climbing the stairs instead of using the lift.
Don’t forget your pelvic floor
Make sure you give your pelvic floor muscles a workout as part of your daily routine. Strong pelvic floor muscles will help you ease your baby out and recover more quickly after the birth.
Regular pelvic floor exercises will also help stop you wetting yourself by accident, especially when your growing baby starts to press on your bladder.
- RCOG (2006) Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy: Information for you, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy.pdf [accessed 21/05/2018]
- NHS Choices. What are pelvic floor exercises? http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1063.aspx?categoryid=52 (Page last reviewed: 30/04/2017. Next review due: 30/04/2020)
- RCOG (2017) Physical activity in pregnancy infographic: guidance: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/622623/Physical_activity_pregnancy_infographic_guidance.pdf [accessed 26/07/2018]
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