Research shows mild to moderate exercise is good for you and your developing baby, provided the pregnancy is normal and you are healthy. This advice is aimed towards any woman in her child bearing year who wishes to exercise safely. The American college of Obstetrics and Gynaecology state that "in the absence of medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day, on most days of the week is recommended for pregnant women". Check with your GP, midwife, and/or women's health physiotherapist before starting a new exercise regime.

Benefits of Exercise in Pregnancy:

  • Keeps your heart, lungs, and muscles as fit as possible
  • Keeps your weight within a healthy range
  • Improves your posture, balance and co-ordination
  • Improves circulation
  • Increases strength and stamina
  • Improves physical and mental well-being
  • Prepares you for labour and delivery
  • Reduces aches and pains during pregnancy, such as pelvic or back pain
  • Become fitter and may help you to recover quicker after the birth    

Aims of Exercise:

Every woman will have a different fitness level before they become pregnant.  You should aim to maintain or moderately improve your level of fitness. In order to be able to exercise safely in pregnancy it is beneficial to understand the changes your pregnant body undergoes. Check with a women's health physiotherapist before taking up a new exercise.

Contra-Indicators to Exercise:

Do not exercise during your pregnancy if you have:

  • Serious heart, lung, kidney or thyroid disease
  • Diabetes Type 1, if poorly controlled
  • History of miscarriage, premature labour, or if your baby has been or is too small for your date
  • High or low blood pressure, discuss with your GP
  • Acute infectious disease

Note, it is still safe to do the exercises provided for pelvic, hip and back pain

 Precautions to Exercise:

The following conditions may require some caution and you should seek appropriate medical advice before starting any exercise.

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes Type 1 – discuss with your doctor
  • History of miscarriage
  • Increased blood pressure before pregnancy
  • Early placenta previa – discuss with your doctor
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Reduced fetal movements
  • Anaemia
  • Extreme overweight or underweight
  • Heavy smokers
  • Avoid lying on your back when exercising, from 16 weeks of pregnancy, as the weight of your baby can press on your blood vessels and make you feel unwell

For more information contact

Lyndsey Whitson, Physiotherapist 
Contact Lyndsey Whitson online

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