Most pregnancies are low risk and it is safe to exercise throughout pregnancy doing many common exercise activities.
Avoid activities, contact sports or exercises that could cause you to lose balance, fall or be hit.
- horse riding
- field sports
- scuba diving
After the first trimester (12 weeks), avoid lying flat on your back during exercise.
Non-urgent advice: Check with your GP, obstetrician or midwife if:
- you have a higher risk pregnancy
It's really important to do this if you are doing more challenging, higher intensity exercise.
Avoid extremes of temperature
do not use hot tubs
do not use saunas
do not do hot yoga
do not do any exercise in very hot or humid weather
do not swim in very cold water
Cold water swimming can be an invigorating challenge for your body. But your growing baby does not have the same ability as you do to adjust to large changes in water temperature.
If you are lifting weights, higher repetitions and lower weights are recommended. Repetitive weight lifting over 18kg could cause premature labour.
Aim to have a good fitness level throughout pregnancy without trying to reach peak fitness or train for an athletic competition. Low impact, aerobic exercise is usually more gentle on your joints and comfortable to do.
In the first and second trimester moderate exercise is good for your body and increases blood supply to your baby.
Walking, swimming and stationary bikes
Walking, swimming and stationary bikes are good forms of low impact, aerobic exercise during pregnancy.
Yoga, Pilates and aqua aerobics are also good and include stretching and strengthening. But do not lie flat on your back after the first trimester (12 weeks) when doing Pilates or yoga, for example.
Swimming (but not in cold water) or aqua aerobics is a great way to exercise during pregnancy. The water provides relief from the weight of your baby bump. This reduces the pressure on your back.
If you want to go to an exercise class, choose one that's aimed specifically for pregnancy.
Intense exercise is not advised in later pregnancy.
It reduces your lung capacity. Your body has to work harder to supply oxygen to your baby.
Pelvic floor exercises
All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises.
The pelvic muscles come under a lot of strain during pregnancy and childbirth. If these muscles are weak, you could have problems with bladder or bowel control.