Safe Exercise Tips During Pregnancy

Published on December 22, 2020

Exercising during pregnancy helps your body adapt to its changing shape whilst keeping you fit and healthy.  Pregnancy exercise can also help you prepare for giving birth and aid your recovery. 

If you already exercise regularly, you can continue working out while pregnant.  If not, start slowly to gradually build fitness and stamina. Pregnancy exercise should be about maintaining fitness so remember to take it steady. 

Brooke Vandermolen, The OBGYN Mum advises; “If you’re not familiar with exercise, then your body will take some time to adapt to any form of intensity, and this is magnified during pregnancy. It’s a good idea to build up slowly so you can test your own limits, and make sure you don’t push yourself too far too quickly.” – A Guide For Exercising During Pregnancy, The Body Coach.

Here are some safe exercise tips for safe pregnancy exercise:

Speak to your Midwife or GP

Consult your Midwife or GP before embarking on pregnancy exercise to ensure it is safe for you to do so.  Especially if you are under observation, or you if didn’t exercise regularly before you were pregnant.

Don’t push yourself too hard

Aerobics class with pregnant woman

Your body will change a lot so listen to it and take it easy when you need to.  Change your mindset to remember that pregnancy exercise should keep you active and it doesn’t have to be strenuous to benefit you.  During pregnancy exercise you should be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath.  Avoid exercising for more than 45 minutes without a break.

Pregnancy exercise may become more difficult as your body changes and you may need to slow down later as your pregnancy progresses. 

Warm-up and cool down

Warm-up gently before pregnancy exercise, and cool down afterwards to allow your heart rate to return to normal.  This YouTube video gives useful tips for warming up and cooling down safely before pregnancy exercise: https://youtu.be/W83E0DO7i1Q

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids when you exercise during pregnancy to avoid dehydration.  Carry a bottle of water with you as an incentive and reminder to keep drinking throughout the day.

Choose safe pregnancy exercises

pregnant mother walking for pregnancy exercise

Now is not the time to try snowboarding or kickboxing!  Pregnancy exercise should be a no-contact activity with a low risk of falls or being hit which could harm your unborn baby.  Safe pregnancy exercises include walking or jogging, swimming, and Pilates.  We have included suggestions for pregnancy exercise below.

Walking is a steady exercise that you can enjoy throughout your pregnancy and a good activity to start with if you weren’t exercising before pregnancy.

Swimming is a good pregnancy exercise to raise your heart rate gently and give you a full-body workout without straining your joints.  It is wonderful to feel weightless in the water as your bump grows larger!

Pilates is a great pregnancy exercise for keeping you supple and strong whilst balancing your mind.  It is a good idea to attend a pregnancy Pilates class, and speak to the instructor beforehand to understand which moves are safe pregnancy exercises for you.

Aerobics are another enjoyable pregnancy exercise.  Speak to the class instructor before you begin. If you are at home try online workouts that are designed for pregnancy exercise. Start slowly and build your stamina rather than burning yourself out.

Following these pregnancy exercise tips and enjoying safe exercises during pregnancy will be beneficial for both you and your baby.  Pregnancy exercise should be enjoyable so listen to your body and stay safe but have fun! For advice from the NHS on exercise during pregnancy visit https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/

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