L&R Medical

Everyone else is on a health kick but what about exercise now you’re pregnant?

The start of the new year often comes with plans of getting fit, but does being pregnant mean you can’t exercise? In short, no, not at all. It is safe to exercise when you are pregnant.

The benefits of exercise

The fitter and healthier you are, the more you can adjust to the changes that your body goes through during pregnancy. Also, the less likely you are to encounter complications during the birth of your baby.

Research shows that exercise in pregnancy can reduce the length of your labour and reduce the need for interventions such as instrumental birth and caesarean. It can also support your recuperation postnatally.

Backache is the most common discomfort women experience during pregnancy and gentle exercise can really help with that and other pregnancy symptoms.

Taking the first step

If you already exercise it is okay to continue as long as you feel comfortable doing so. But be mindful of how your body feels and if necessary, ease back or stop.

I have heard birth being likened to running a marathon and you wouldn’t do that without training first. So, if you don’t already do any physical activity now is a good time to start.

This doesn’t mean that you need to join a gym or start running miles. If you don’t already regularly exercise avoid doing anything strenuous, start gently and build up. The Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy Charity recommend 15 minutes three times a week, building to 30 minutes five times a week if you can.

Great exercise options:

• Walking

A great all-round activity and a brilliant place to start. Make sure that you have good footwear and avoid uneven ground as your balance is not as good when you are pregnant. You can listen to music or a podcast as you walk – I recommend Birth Ed.

• Swimming

Especially fantastic if you are struggling with backache or pelvic girdle pain. With the water supporting the weight of your baby and your body, it allows you to work almost every muscle. Aqua-natal is another option - look out for classes in your area.

• Pregnancy yoga

This supports your constantly changing body, offers safe ways to stretch muscles and strengthens and tones your body. In particular, the pelvic floor, hips and abdominal muscles can get a good workout which helps prepare for birth.

• A birth ball

A great option to ease pain and pressure in your back and hips and keep your joints mobile. You can use them throughout pregnancy and if you have a desk-based job, you can even swap to them from your normal office chair.


Whatever exercise you are doing it is important to be aware of the following guidelines

• Do not exhaust yourself

• You should be able to hold a conversation - if you are too breathless to talk, the activity is too strenuous

• Always warm up and cool down

• Stay hydrated

• Inform your trainer or class instructor that you are pregnant

If you are starting a new class, ensure that the instructor has the relevant qualification. If you are new to exercise or have any concerns about exercising in pregnancy check with your midwife or GP before you continue.

Learn more about relieving backache during pregnancy.

Shop Cellacare Materna Comfort pregnancy support belt here.