Staying active during pregnancy has great benefits
For example, exercising during your pregnancy can:
- lower your risk of pregnancy problems, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.
- reduce the likelihood of common pregnancy complaints, aches and pains.
- help you sleep better.
- improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
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
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.
Not in itself. In fact, women with uncomplicated pregnancies who exercise have been shown to have a reduced risk of premature birth.
No. Exercise has not been shown to cause miscarriage. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is safer to exercise than not.
It should be fine to continue with your usual yoga class during pregnancy, as long as you tell your yoga teacher and they are qualified to instruct pregnant women.
Yes. Yoga is a great exercise to do during pregnancy as it doesn’t put too much strain on your joints. It has also been shown to reduce anxiety and to help women stay calm in pregnancy and labour.
As you’re used to running, it’s fine to carry on during your pregnancy as long as you feel comfortable.
As long as you feel comfortable and you have no medical issues in pregnancy, you can carry on exercising right up until your baby is born.
- 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
- 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
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.