Whether you are new to exercising or are a regular at the gym, working out whilst pregnant has many benefits that can help you through those nine months and beyond.

However, you should be adapting how you exercise during this time, so as to protect your own health and that of your unborn baby. We have put together a few top tips on exercising during pregnancy, to help ensure that you are doing it safely and productively. 

Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

Yes it is. If you are able to keep active during pregnancy, you will be able to adapt more easily to any weight gain and your changing shape. There is also some evidence that it can help you to cope more with labour and can even get you back into shape more quickly after giving birth. If done correctly it is not dangerous for your baby and can help to reduce the risk of any issues throughout the pregnancy.

How should I exercise during pregnancy?

  • Do not exercise to exhaustion. Start to slow down when advised or when you can feel your body telling you to. If you become breathless then you should stop.
  • If you are new to exercise take it extra slow, as your body will not be used to it. Start slowly and gradually build.
  • Always perform a warm up and cool down either side of your work out.
  • Try to do something everyday to keep active. A simple walk will be enough.
  • As you get bigger, try swimming. The water will support your extra weight and make the work out more comfortable. 

Are there any exercises that I should avoid when pregnant?

  • Anything with a risk of falling, such as horse riding, gymnastics and cycling.
  • Do not take part in any contact sports where you could get hit, such as squash or kickboxing.
  • Avoid any exercise that is over 2500km above sea level, as you and your baby will be at risk of altitude sickness.
  • Anything that involves lying on your back for more than a few minutes, especially after 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

What exercises will be good for me during pregnancy?

  • Pelvic tilting exercises - try standing against a wall and then pulling in your tummy muscles so that your back is flat. Hold for 4 seconds and gently release.
  • Pelvic floor exercises - strengthening these muscles can help with incontinence that may happen during or after pregnancy, 
  • Walking - this is an easy and gentle way to keep active throughout your pregnancy.
  • Running - only continue with this if you were an experienced runner before getting pregnant. Don’t take it up as a new hobby while pregnant.
  • Prenatal yoga - some specially designed yoga moves can help you to relax and keep active.
  • Aerobics - try some classes with specially designed, low impact moves.

Make sure that you keep hydrated during your workout, with a gentle warmup and cool down routine. Listen to your body throughout and stop as soon as you feel uncomfortable.