Exercise during Pregnancy

Here are the top 5 questions (and answers) I get asked by mothers who want to exercise through their pregnancy. 

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Question 1. Why should I exercise during pregnancy? Shouldn’t I just be resting…

You should always be exercising in some way, even if it’s just a little.

This is because throughout pregnancy, your body gradually changes due to the increase in hormones. It is very important to keep strong, flexible and maintain (or improve) your overall fitness to manage these changes.

Here is a summary of the benefits for exercising during pregnancy:

  • Improved mood, sleep and mental health
  • Increases your energy levels
  • Improves muscle tone, strength and endurance
  • Aids weight management (before and after your bub is born)
  • Manage stomach separation
  • Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
  • Improved posture to reduce low back/pelvic girdle pain
  • Reduces bloating, constipation and swelling
Question 2. Is it safe to exercise during the third trimester?

Yes. And it is recommended for people who have a normal, healthy pregnancy. 

However, it is important to always consult your obstetrician or midwife before starting an exercise routine. There are a few high risk complications that can make exercise unsafe, therefore, it’s important to ensure it’s right for you. 

Question 3. What types of exercise are safe to do during pregnancy?

You can start exercising at any time during pregnancy, even if you haven’t previously been active. Start slow and easy, and with the guidance of your physiotherapist.

Some great forms of exercise during pregnancy are:

  • Walking
  • Swimming or Aqua Aerobics
  • Yoga or Pilates
  • Strength-Based Gym Classes
  • Body Weight Exercises
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises
Question 4. What types of exercise shouldn’t I be doing?

It’s important NOT to start exercising in a way you haven’t tried before. 

In other words, it’s not a good idea to start a brand new running or Crossfit class whether you’re in your first trimester or your third. 

If you’re used to high intensity exercise, this may be okay in the early stages but your body will soon let you know when it’s time to stop. 

Also, the more jumping (and landing) based forms of exercise may increase your risk of future continence issues and prolapse – switch them out for pelvic floor exercises. 

Question 5. What about sit-ups? Should I keep doing them?

No. Full sit-ups, crunches or double leg lifts put increased pressure on your spine and abdomen, therefore, are not a great idea at any time during pregnancy. 

Instead, focus on abdominal exercises such as planks. These static and endurance based core exercises strengthen both your abdominals and your back muscles.