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When to get medical advice before exercising

It's safe to exercise if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Being active during pregnancy means better health for you and your baby.

Keep up your normal daily physical activity for as long as you feel comfortable. For example, walking, swimming, yoga or running.

If you did not exercise before pregnancy, start slowly and increase gradually. If you start a new exercise class, tell the instructor that you are pregnant.

If any exercise feels uncomfortable, stop and get advice from your GP, midwife, obstetrician or physiotherapist. There are some types of exercise to avoid during pregnancy.

All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises.

Medical conditions

If you have any health problems or chronic medical conditions, always speak to your GP before exercising.

Some of these may include:

  • heart disease
  • restrictive lung disease
  • chronic bronchitis
  • an eating disorder
  • anaemia
  • bone, muscle or joint problems
  • high blood pressure (hypertension) that's not under control
  • seizures that are not under control
  • thyroid disease that's not under control

Pregnancy-related conditions or issues

Get advice from your GP, midwife or obstetrician before starting exercise if you:

  • have any pregnancy-related medical condition
  • have a history of pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • have maternal cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat, too slow or too fast)
  • have gestational diabetes that is not under control
  • have cervical weakness or a cervical stitch (cerclage)
  • are bleeding from your vagina
  • have placenta praevia after 26 weeks
  • have a history of premature labour
  • have a tear or leak from the amniotic sac that holds your baby
  • have been told your baby's growth is slow or has stopped (intrauterine growth restriction)
  • are expecting twins or more

Building healthy habits

Get advice from your GP or obstetrician before starting exercise if you:

  • are living with overweight or obesity, especially if your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40
  • are a smoker, especially if you have any smoking-related problems
  • need advice about eating a wide variety of healthy foods, to make sure you and your baby are getting nourishment from the food you eat

If you are not active or used to doing much physical activity, start your exercise gradually, for example with a 10 minute walk. Chat to your GP if you would like more advice about this.

Healthy eating during pregnancy

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy

Page last reviewed: 14 November 2022
Next review due: 14 November 2025