Being active during your pregnancy will improve yours and your baby’s health. You are less likely to suffer from common pregnancy complaints, such as tiredness, varicose veins and swollen feet, if you stay active.
Staying active in pregnancy has great benefits
- It reduces your likelihood of pregnancy problems, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.
- It helps you sleep better.
- It reduces anxiety levels.
Research shows that walking to work (assuming you don’t work miles away) is better for your mental health and less stressful than driving.
Even if you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, this is a great time to start, and walking is the perfect activity to begin with. You can do it whenever it suits you, it’s free and you don’t need any special kit.
If possible, make it part of your daily routine – the commute to work, the school run or a daily lunchtime walk, for example.A brisk, mile-long walk (1.6 kilometres) three times a week can help keep you feeling fit.
Tips for walking in pregnancy
Try to walk faster than you normally would so that your heart is beating faster. If you’re planning to walk fast or go on longer walks, here are some tips:
- wear comfortable shoes
- stay on level ground
- don’t walk during the hottest part of the day
- carry water with you and drink regularly.
You can walk all through your pregnancy, as long as you feel comfortable. Try getting off the bus a stop early or walking to your local shops. If you have older children, walk when you do the school run if that’s possible. These small changes can make a big difference to your activity levels.
Why walking is a perfect pregnancy activity
- It’s free.
- You can do it wherever you are.
- You can easily fit in a walk during your lunch break at work.
- You can walk on your own or with friends.
- It’s low impact, so you can do it right up to labour if you feel okay.
- If you work too far from home to walk all the way, you could get off the bus or train a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
You can continue after the birth, taking your baby out and about in the pram.
Get yourself a pedometer or download a step-counting app to keep track of your movements and motivate you to build on it over time.
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.
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.
- 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
- CEDAR (2014) ‘Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia researchers find’, Norwich, University of East Anglia and Centre for Diet and Activity Research: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.