If you have a specific condition in pregnancy, however, you may need to ask your healthcare team. Your doctor or midwife will tell you if you should limit the amount of exercise you do, and they will explain why.
Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any worries about aches, pains or other issues. Generally, you should stop exercising immediately if you feel unwell or are in pain. Listen to your body and always tell your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any pain or discomfort.
What are the warning signs to watch out for?
Whatever activity you’re doing and whatever stage of your pregnancy you’re at, stop at once if:
- you’re having trouble catching your breath
- you feel dizzy
- you have chest pain
- your heart is beating in an irregular way (palpitations)
- you can feel tightenings in your tummy
- your waters (the liquid around your baby) are leaking
- you have any bleeding from your vagina
- you feel pain around your tummy
- you feel pain in your pelvis
- you are exhausted
- you have a bad headache
- your muscles feel weak
- you have a pain or swelling in the lower part of your leg
- your baby isn’t moving as much as usual.
Even if you don’t have any of these symptoms, if you feel unwell, uncomfortable or just ‘not right’ and you’re worried, stop exercising and talk to your doctor or midwife.
Don’t start exercising if:
- You’re having lots of Braxton Hicks ‘practice’ contractions.
- It’s very hot.
- You have any bleeding.
- You have a deep pain in your stomach or pelvis.
Contact your doctor or midwife if you’re having spotting or deep stomach/pelvic pain.
Don’t overdo it!
Avoid pushing yourself too hard as this can make you overheat, which is not good for your baby. You should aim to work hard enough so that you breathe more deeply and your heart beats faster, but not so hard that you can’t hold a conversation or are gasping for breath.
If you’re doing an exercise class or working out in the gym, tell the teacher or gym instructor you’re pregnant and ask their advice about checking your heart rate.
Heart rate to aim for when doing aerobic exercise in pregnancy
Heart rate (beats/minute)
|Less than 20 years||140-155|
|Over 40 years||125-140|
Eat right for exercise in pregnancy
It’s important to eat well during your pregnancy to provide energy for you and your baby.
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.
- 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
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.