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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.

If you didn't exercise before pregnancy, start slowly and increase gradually. There are some types of exercise you need to avoid during pregnancy.

All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises.

Medical conditions

Get advice from your GP or obstetrician before starting exercise if you have any of the following:

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

Pregnancy-related conditions or issues

Get advice from your GP 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 (where your heartbeat is irregular, too slow or too fast)
  • have gestational diabetes that's not under control
  • have cervical weakness or a cervical stick (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

An unhealthy lifestyle

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

  • are very overweight, with a body mass index or BMI greater than 40
  • are a heavy smoker
  • have an extremely poor diet or not enough nutrition
  • are extremely inactive, for example sitting or lying down for long periods

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021