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Exercise whilst pregnant- what is safe?

Birth Preparation

Written by Brooke Griggs from Bstyle fitness

“In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30mins or more of moderate exercise a day on most days, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women”
American congress of obstetricians and gynaecologists

There are lots of exercises that are safe during training and your current training plan can be modified to allow you to continue training though out all stages of pregnancy.

Things to think about

  • always seek medical clearance before undertaking any training program, speak with your GP or obstetrician about your plans, and ensure there are not contradictions to training for you and bub.
  • Stick with what you have been doing with training (make modifications where necessary) but don’t start a new program or doing things that will stress the body, eg if you have never participated in a strength training, now is not the time. if you weren’t running, don’t start now.
  • listen to your body- if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t- stop and consult a professional.

Cautions and things to avoid when exercising

PRE- Perceived rate of exertion, this should be a score of 7 or below whilst training, so if 10 if working flat out, puffing heavy, sweating lots, red in the face and feeling fatigued and 1 is resting, aim for a score of no bigger than 7, you should able to hold a conversation.

  • laying on your back or stomach, on hard surfaces or with your heart above your head should be avoided (in particular after 16 weeks)
  • Interval training and plyometric- these sorts of exercises should be avoided, they put excess strain on the joints and Pelvic floor and promote peaks and troughs in your heart rate. You want to aim for steady state heart rate, so slow climbs.
  • Abdominal crunches, sit ups, and core exercises that put excessive weight through the belly and spine should be avoided at all times.
  • overhead presses- in particular after 16 weeks, this places excessive strain on the lower back, and the benefit is far out weighted by the risk.
  • Overheating- don’t allow the body to overheat at any time.
  • drinking an extra 300mls of water per 30 mins of exercises.


 Safe exercise during pregnancy

  • Walking
  • swimming (great for later in pregnancy when land based exercise becomes hard) this will take the weight off the joints.
  • Pregnancy specific Pilates or yoga
  • Personal training with a qualified and knowledgeable pregnancy and postnatal trainer.

Exercise whilst pregnant has so many benefits and can really help you throughout the journey of pregnancy and beyond, if you are unsure about what is safe exercise or need some support find a local women health physio, or a personal trainer qualified in pregnancy and postnatal training.

Please note: this blog is designed to give general advice on training whilst pregnant, please consult your General practitioner or obstetrician before commencing any training program.

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