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.
Yoga is a great way to stay active and look after your wellbeing during and after pregnancy. There are some brilliant tutorials you can access online, just make sure they are specialised for pregnancy. The Yoga Midwife takes us through some simple poses to get you started.
We are all trying to cope with changes to our routine, including how we eat and exercise to look after ourselves. The important thing is trying to be as active as you can, without comparing yourself to others.
Pregnancy-safe, at-home workouts with no equipment needed! We asked Charlie, founder of Bumps and Burpees and personal trainer qualified in pre & post natal training to provide some simple exercises to do at home.
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.
- 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.
By Sarah Peyton (not verified) on 7 Jan 2020 - 20:51
Hi! I’m ten weeks and have been spotting and bleeding some not enough to fill a liner but still enough. I have a back pain that kinda burns mid part of my back that stops when I sit down. Is it a miscarriage happening or do I just need to slow down my exercises??
By Carrie Sallese (not verified) on 24 Sep 2019 - 00:06
I am currently 9 weeks pregnant and I have a very physical job as a painter. I noticed when I work to hard I start to bleed. Is this normal?
By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Sep 2019 - 10:12
Any bleeding, at any gestation of pregnancy is considered abnormal until proven otherwise. So please be seen urgently today if you have already done so.