Activities to avoid and recommended exercises

What to avoid

Avoid any activities, contact sports or exercises that could cause you to lose balance, fall or be hit. These include:

  • horse riding
  • skiing
  • field sports
  • gymnastics
  • cycling
  • scuba diving

Make sure you don't overheat. Avoid:

  • hot tubs
  • saunas
  • hot yoga
  • any exercise in very hot or humid weather

Water temperature

If you are exercising in water, the temperature of the water should not exceed 32°C.

Lying on your back

After the first trimester (12 weeks), avoid lying flat on your back during exercise.

Recommended exercises

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 best.

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.

Swimming or aqua aerobics in pregnancy is a great way to exercise. The water helps lift your baby and eases any pressure on your back.

If you want to go to an exercise class, choose one that's aimed specifically for pregnancy.

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.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021