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 both your health and your baby’s. It can lead to too much weight gain, loss of fitness, increased risk of getting 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.

However you choose to get active, you’re more likely to stick with it if you do something you enjoy. Some people like to do an organised exercise class or sport, while others prefer to find ways of being more active as part of their daily routine. Or you may decide to do a bit of both.

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

If there's a regular journey that you do by bus, think about walking all or some of it. 

2. Head to the park in your lunch break.

Start with a stroll and build up to a brisk walk. 

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 you could try getting out of the lift a few floors early instead!

4. When you’re shopping, carrying the bags will exercise your arms.

Prepare your arm muscles for the workout they will get when your baby arrives! If you bend to pick the shopping up up, 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 automatically 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 a boring chore. But if you add music and view it as your activity programme it might make it a more enjoyable and useful thing to do!

7. Take the dog for an extra walk.

If you have one!

8. Do some gardening.

Cutting the grass, weeding and planting are all good ways of getting some exercise.

9. Have a dance to your favourite music.

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

10. Take up some easy organised exercise.

If you did not exercise before getting pregnant, it is still absolutely safe and healthy to start now. Start with 15 minutes of continuous exercise three times a week and increase it gradually to 30-minute sessions four days a week or every day.

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

And one spare tip for luck! Find an app that will support your efforts.

Here is the list of 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 taking up exercise

Read more

Sources

  1. RCOG (2006) Exercise in Pregnancy: Statement No. 4, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/statements/statement-no-4.pdf 
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Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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