There are lots of ways you can be active during pregnancy, but the exercises listed below may not be safe now you’re pregnant.
Contact sports and pregnancy
Contact sports are activities such as football, rugby, hockey or martial arts. Because of the way they are played, there is a risk of your bump being hit and so it’s best not to do them at all while you’re pregnant.
If you’re part of a team though, you could still train with them – perhaps in the gym – as long as you don’t do anything where you could get hit.
Activities that have a risk of falling during pregnancy
Any exercise or activity where there is a risk of falling, such as skiing, climbing or horse riding, can be risky. This is because your growing bump alters your centre of gravity, which can make it harder to keep your balance.
If you cycle and you’re worried about falling, you could change to indoor cycling in a gym.
Exercising at high altitudes in pregnancy
You shouldn’t exercise at high altitudes (over 2,500 metres) unless you are used to it, as it reduces the oxygen supply to you and your baby.
If you have gone somewhere that is over 2,500 metres, you should wait at least four to five days for your body to adjust before you do any exercise.
Scuba diving when pregnant
Scuba diving is not safe during pregnancy.
Nitrogen gas bubbles can pass across the placenta and your unborn baby has no protection against decompression sickness.
Exercising on your back in pregnancy
After 16 weeks, exercising on your back can cause low blood pressure and dizziness for some women.
The weight of the baby could press on a major blood vessel and reduce the blood flow to your heart and therefore baby.
For this reason, we also recommend sleeping on your side in late pregnancy.
Exercise classes that aren’t made for pregnancy
For example, they should advise you to avoid some exercises or positions, such as lying on your back after 16 weeks.
If you took part in any of the exercises before you knew you were pregnant and you’re worried, speak to your midwife for some reassurance.
Stuck at your desk feeling uncomfortable and achy? Have a go at our simple pregnancy excises - you don’t even need to leave your desk.
Many people find it helps to set exercise goals to help them stay fit 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.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), also known as pelvic girdle pain (PGP), is a fairly common pregnancy condition. It is caused by the way pelvic joints move during pregnancy. It can make exercise more difficult but there are things you can do.
Yes it is. In fact, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is safer to exercise than not to as it brings down the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Frequently asked questions about exercise in pregnancy, including what exercises to try and which ones to avoid.
Doing pelvic floor exercises regularly will help prevent you accidentally leaking wee when you cough or strain, both during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.
These simple pregnancy-friendly exercises don’t take very long to do and you can fit them into your everyday life, at work or at home.
If you're having a normal pregnancy you are safe to stay active comfortably right up to the end of your pregnancy.
Being active during your pregnancy is safe and healthy for you and your baby.
Walking is a safe and simple way to stay active during pregnancy. It’s the perfect activity to start with if you’re not used to exercise.
Yoga is an activity that focuses on mental and physical wellbeing. It uses a series of body positions (called postures) and breathing exercises.
Swimming and doing other exercises in water is a particularly good way to stay active during pregnancy.
Find out about the benefits of strength training in pregnancy, how to weight train safely, and which exercises or equipment to avoid when you’re pregnant.
If you ran or jogged regularly before your pregnancy, you can carry on for as long as you feel comfortable. Running is great aerobic exercise and can help you to have a fit and healthy pregnancy.
Pilates is a type of exercise that will work your muscles and improve your flexibility without putting too much strain on your joints.
Exercising during your pregnancy is safe and healthy. You can do most types of exercise in pregnancy, including running, Pilates, weights, yoga and swimming.
How much exercise you should do during pregnancy will depend on how active you were before you got pregnant and any health issues you may have. Find out how to exercise safely for you and your baby.
- NHS Choices. Exercise in pregnancy. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-exercise.aspx (Page last reviewed: 14/01/2017. Next review due: 14/01/2020)
- 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
- 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
- Camporesi EM (1996). Diving and pregnancy. Seminars in Perinatology 20 (4): 292–301 http://www.seminperinat.com/article/S0146-0005%2896%2980022-X/abstract
- Heazell AEP, Li M, Budd J, Thompson JMD, Stacey T, Cronin RS, Martin B, Roberts D, Mitchell EA, McCowan LME (2017). Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 8 Jun 2016 - 10:21
I am 10 weeks pregnant and am continuing with running, circuit, metafit, tabata and boxing (none contact, pads only) and after speaking to my midwife I am over the moon that I can continue to do what I love. I was so scared I would be told to stop. Exercising helps with cramping, makes me feel great and really boosts my feel good levels. I would say to any mum to be, stick with what you're doing, unless it gets uncomfortable or painful obviously, and if you're not already keeping fit I'd recommend you start asap ... it's the best thing for yours and the babies well being and you'll feel better than you ever have :)