Exercise during pregnancy

Providing pregnancy is normal, you can exercise throughout the nine months. There are few rules concerning whether exercise is beneficial or harmful in pregnancy. However, you should stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor if you:

  • feel unwell
  • feel dizzy
  • experience pain or bleeding

What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?

Exercise during pregnancy will help keep your body stronger and more supple. You will have fewer problems with your joints, tendons and circulation. Exercise will help prevent constipation, which is common during pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy will make it easier to avoid gaining more weight than the average weight gain of 22-26lb.

Childbirth is often physically demanding, requiring a lot of energy to push out a baby – particularly if this is your first child or there have been several years between births. So it is a good idea to keep in shape during pregnancy.

If you’re still not sure whether it would be healthy to exercise during pregnancy check with your doctor or midwife first!

What kind of exercise is suitable?

Sport safety

You can play many sports during pregnancy. However, you should avoid extreme sport that will push you. Always stop if you feel unwell.

Swimming is gentle and effective. If you don’t swim regularly start swimming slowly for short periods initially-for about the first three sessions. Gradually increase this to 20 minutes or more at normal pace, two to three times a week.

Make sure the water is not too warm – between 18 and 25°C is acceptable. Steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs are not advised. These can affect blood pressure and the body’s fluid balance.

Walking for 30 minutes two to three times a week is also effective exercise during pregnancy.

Contact sports

Contact sports such as football are not an advised form of exercise during pregnancy.

This because of possible injury to you or your baby if you collide with another player.

Cycling is another alternative for mothers-to-be who have trouble walking during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor or midwife if you have problems with pelvic joint discomfort (pelvic arthropathy).

What precautions should you take?

During pregnancy, your heart has to pump extra blood to the placenta. Your pulse rate should not exceed 140-145 beats per minute when you exercise, in case your heart becomes overstressed.

Working out vigorously can be dangerous because of the extra strain this will put on your body and heart. This will cause stress for your baby and make you feel unwell.

During pregnancy it’s normal to sweat more than usual. To replace this, it’s important to drink a lot of water before, during and after any kind of exercise or sporting activity.

Good advice

As well as exercise, you also need more rest during pregnancy. Try to lie down and relax with your feet up once or twice a day