Research shows that women who were active before pregnancy but then stopped when they became pregnant had longer labour times and more interventions during labour than those who kept exercising to the end of their pregnancy.
Some women worry about their baby being shaken around while they exercise, but this isn’t the case. Your baby is safe and secure within your womb and may even find the movement relaxing.
Staying active can also help:
- you sleep better
- reduce your likelihood of suffering from some common pregnancy complaints, like varicose veins, swollen feet and tiredness.
- reduce your stress levels.
Or you could try our quick and easy pregnancy workout.
Tips for exercising safely in pregnancy:
- If you have any pregnancy complications talk to your doctor before exercising.
- Don’t overheat – drink water regularly and don’t exercise in very hot temperatures (unless you’re used to it).
- If you go to an exercise class that’s not just for pregnant women, tell the teacher that you’re pregnant.
- Don’t exercise on your back after 16 weeks. Find out why exercising on your back is not recommended.
- Don’t scuba dive, exercise at high altitudes or do exercises where your bump might get hit (such as football, rugby or martial arts).
- Be careful with exercises where you could fall (such as outdoor cycling, horse riding or skiing).
- If you have any unusual pains, stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor or midwife.
- Pay attention to your heart rate during more intense exercise. If you’re at the gym, a trainer will be able to check this for you. Here’s what to aim for:
Heart rate (beats/minute)
|Less than 20 years||140-155|
|Over 40 years||125-140|
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.
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.
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.
Most exercises are safe in pregnancy but there are a few things you should avoid or be careful with to keep your baby safe.
- 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
- Clapp JF (1990) ‘The course of labor after endurance exercise during pregnancy’ American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 163 (6 Pt 1): 1799–805:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2256485 [accessed 23 February 2015].
- Juhl M, Andersen PK, Olsen J, Madsen M, Jørgensen T, Nøhr EA, Andersen AM (2008) ‘Physical exercise during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort’, American Journal of Epidemiology, 167 (7): 859–66: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18303008
- Tinloy J, Chuang CH, Zhu J, Pauli J, Kraschnewski JL, Kjerulff KH (2014) ‘Exercise during pregnancy and risk of late preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalizations’, Women’s Health Issues, 24 (1): e99–e104: doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.11.003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439953
- 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
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.