I'm overweight. What exercise can I do during pregnancy?

Most types of exercise are fine even if you are overweight. Being active during your pregnancy is safe and healthy for you and your baby.

Staying active during pregnancy has great benefits

For example, exercising during your pregnancy can:

If you did not exercise before getting pregnant, it is still safe and healthy to start. Start with 15 minutes of continuous exercise 3 times a week and increase it gradually to 30-minute sessions four days a week, or every day.

Exercises to try

A good way to boost your fitness it to think about more gentle aerobic exercises. You could try swimming, power-walking, pregnancy yoga or indoor cycling.

If you would prefer to exercise at home, look out for pregnancy-specific exercise DVDs or try our quick and easy pregnancy workout.

Everyday activities that can help boost your pregnancy fitness level

If you don’t like the thought of planned exercise, think about how you can avoid sitting down too much during the day.

Try these easy ideas for being more active as you go about your day:

  • Walk instead of taking the bus, or get off a stop early.
  • Walk to the shops.
  • Head to the park in your lunch break – start with a stroll and build up to a brisk walk.
  • Climb the stairs instead of getting the lift, or get out of the lift one floor early and walk the last bit.
  • When you’re shopping, carrying the bags will exercise your arms. Make sure to bend at the knees, keep your tummy muscles held in and your back straight.
  • If you have other children, walk them to school, nursery or toddler group if it’s not too far.
  • Play with your older children in the park or garden.
  • If you’re doing the housework, switch on some music and put lots of energy into it for a good workout.
  • If you have a dog, take them out for an extra walk.
  • Do some gardening – cutting the grass, weeding and planting are all good ways of getting some exercise.
  • Have a dance to your favourite music. It’s fun and it’s a low-impact way to exercise.

What exercises to avoid

If you weren’t used to it before pregnancy, it’s best not to take up running or other high-impact activities now that you’re pregnant because it may be hard on your joints.

More exercise questions answered


  1. Paisley TS, Joy EA, Price RJ Jr. (2003) ‘Exercise during pregnancy: a practical approach’, Current Sports Medicine Reports 2 (6): 325–30:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14583162 
  2. 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 July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Deirdre (not verified) on 29 Feb 2020 - 19:00

      Can I still do spinning on the bikes in the gym? Currently 5 weeks

    • By Angelina (not verified) on 9 Oct 2019 - 03:37

      Hi. Aged 36. 240lbs 6 weeks ish.. 4th baby

      I work out. 5-6 days a week have for 7 months. Found today im pregnant. Can i still do leg raises. Or is that a risk

    • By Gabriella Mendoza (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 08:16

      Is it ok to have 6 C-section

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 11:14

      Hi - Thank you for your message. The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (RCOG) advise that "Two caesarean sections do not appear to have a higher complication rate, but
      three or more carry serious risks".
      It is best to discuss a 6th caesarean section with your Doctor/midwife.

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