Mild to moderate exercise is good for both you and your baby and most healthy women will find a program of moderate exercise beneficial. Pregnancy can be a good opportunity to improve your level of fitness. Brisk walking and swimming (or aquanatal classes) are excellent. If you are used to exercising you can continue with your normal routine if you feel well.
If you are not used to exercising, you may wish to start with some low impact exercise/activities such as walking, swimming, static bike, gym ball, core stability exercises or chair based exercises with small hand weights and/or therabands.
Begin with 15 minutes continuous activity, 3 times a week, gradually increasing to 30 minutes at least 4 times a week.
As your pregnancy progresses continue with familiar activities and remember that it is natural to slow down. Any activity which produces significant pain should be avoided.
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- work within your own limits to avoid getting too hot or too breathless
- listen to your body - stop if you are uncomfortable, tired or feeling unwell if you were running regularly before you became pregnant, it is safe to continue during pregnancy possibly at a lower intensity but might get uncomfortable as you get larger
- be cautious in the gym - ask for help on which machines to use and how to use them correctly
- competitive / contact and new sports may be risky, and should be avoided
- hot/ humid/high altitude and low depth conditions are generally not suitable for pregnant women
- rapid twists and turns and changes of direction may cause pain - take care
Stop any activity that produces pain, especially in the back or pelvis. It may help to attend a specific pregnancy exercise class instructed by a qualified, specialist professional, which should include work on posture, stabilisation for the spine and pelvis and functional techniques in standing.
If you have any further questions about suitable exercise during pregnancy or are experiencing any pain with exercise, please book in to see one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists. They will be able to guide you on strategies to prevent pain and stay strong and supple throughout