Can I exercise in pregnancy
Pregnancy exercises to help mums stay fit and healthy
At a glance
Exercise can improve energy, sleep and moods
Prenatal yoga is a great exercise to prepare for labour
Choose exercises that are gentle on your joints, such as swimming
Talk to your doctor first and tell your fitness instructor you are pregnant or choose a specific antenatal class instead
Pregnancy can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. So exercise might be the last thing on your mind. But regular, gentle exercise during pregnancy is a great way to improve your energy.
It also helps you get a good night’s sleep, prevents worry and depression, and it builds up your stamina for labour. Eating healthily, avoiding gaining too much weight, and staying fit can help prevent excess weight gain in pregnancy and help you get back into shape after the birth.
What exercises to do when pregnant
Regular gentle exercise during your pregnancy can help you keep fit, get a good night’s sleep and build up your stamina for labour.
Start off slowly and build up if you're able to. Aim for about 30 minutes of gentle exercise each day
Choose activities that are easy on your joints, like swimming, pregnancy yoga or pregnancy aqua-aerobics
Or build activities into your daily routine, such as walking and taking the stairs instead of using the lift
It’s never too early to start pelvic floor exercises. To strengthen your pelvic floor, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row – like you’re trying to stop yourself from passing wind or peeing
Light core strengthening exercises can help ease backache, and a stronger core can be helpful for labour
Important tips to stay safe and well whilst exercising in pregnancy
Drink plenty of water before and after your workout
If you’re not used to regular exercise, speak to your GP or midwife first
If you go to a gym, tell your fitness instructor that you are pregnant so that they can provide a suitable programme for you
Choose activities that are easy on your joints
Don’t push yourself too hard. Stop if you experience any pain, discomfort or dizziness. You should still be able to have a conversation as you exercise
Stretch gently before and after
Don’t exercise in heated rooms - for example Bikram Yoga, or Hot Yoga are practiced in very hot rooms so are unadvised