If you were active before you got pregnant, you can aim to keep your current level of fitness. If you haven’t exercised before, it’s a good idea to start off with 15 minutes’ continuous exercise three times a week and slowly build this up.
Ideally, you should be aiming to work up to 30 minutes of exercise, at least four times a week. If you decide to start with 30 minutes, you can break it up into ten-minute blocks.
Lots of people find that writing down the activities they have done and what they plan to do keeps them motivated. If you do this, it will be easy to keep an eye on how active you are. You can keep track of your activities by filling out a weekly exercise goal sheet or by keeping a diary where you record everything you do.
There are also some free apps for your smartphone or tablet that can help you track your daily steps and other activities.
Why does a pregnancy exercise goal plan help?
Writing down your activity goals and things you’ve already done lets you plan ahead, and you can see your achievements.
You can decide what activities you’d like to do, or what will be possible, depending on your work, older children and other things that are going on in your life.
It’s normal to feel tired at times during your pregnancy but doing some gentle exercise will actually make you feel less tired, so try to stick to your plan. You can also have a ‘Plan B’ for foreseeable problems, such as having to work late or getting stuck in traffic.
Your Plan B could be to do the easy home workout or to go for a walk with a friend or partner instead.
If it helps, choose treats each week to reward yourself for staying active and meeting your goals. These could be things like a cinema trip, a visit to a nail bar or buying a favourite magazine.
How can I make meeting my pregnancy exercise goals easier?
You may find that exercising with another person can make it more fun. Ask a friend or your partner if they will keep you company by walking, swimming or doing a class with you.
Some pregnant women also enjoy keeping track of their walking by using a pedometer, which is a device that counts your steps as you walk.
You can download the NHS Change4Life Smart Step-O-Meter app for your phone. It lets you set step targets, counts your steps and tells you how far you’ve walked.
Start by recording how many steps you usually do in a week and then try to add to it bit by bit.
You can add more steps by:
• walking to the shops
• getting off the bus a few stops earlier
• parking your car before you reach where you’re going and walking the rest of the way
• taking your dog for an extra walk
• climbing the stairs instead of using the lift.
Don’t forget your pelvic floor!
Make sure you give your pelvic floor muscles a workout as part of your daily routine. Strong pelvic floor muscles will help you ease your baby out and recover more quickly after the birth. They will also help stop you weeing by accident, especially when your growing baby starts to press on your bladder.
The international retrospective study of 1,293 women who take part in parkrun found no evidence of negative effects of running on the baby.
The randomised trial included 508 healthy pregnant women and looked at how exercise could affect the amount of time spent in labour.
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The study looked at data of 12,500 women during their pregnancy.
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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) is a fairly common pregnancy condition. It is caused by the way pelvic joints move during pregnancy.
- 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-informat... [accessed 23 February 2015].
- ‘What are pelvic floor exercises?’, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1063.aspx?categoryid=52 [accessed 23 February 2015] (last reviewed: 3 February 2015; next review due: 2 February 2017).
ℹLast reviewed on September 20th, 2015. Next review date September 20th, 2018.