Exercise during pregnancy

Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, including during pregnancy. Many women enter pregnancy with an aerobic and strength training programme already in place, and this is a great start. Other women use pregnancy as an opportunity to improve their health by developing good exercise habits. Whatever your situation, it’s beneficial to do some regular exercise if you possibly can.

Exercise will help prevent loss of fitness, too much weight gain and low back pain. It will probably also help prevent such things as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, diabetes and varicose veins. It will make you feel better in yourself – exercise is proven to have a positive effect on people’s moods.

Mild or moderate exercise is best. Nearly all pregnant women (with the possible exception of those with very complex pregnancies or severe heart, lung or high blood pressure problems) can safely manage some exercise. If you have any particular problems, other conditions or concerns, discuss with your LMC how they might affect your ability to exercise.

Strenuous exercise is probably best avoided, as it will reduce the blood flow to the placenta. Whether or not this adversely affects the baby depends on a number of other factors related to the placenta. There may be exceptions to this general rule if you were very fit before becoming pregnant, so discuss this with your LMC or GP. You may also want to seek advice from a sports medicine expert if you are involved in top-level competitive sport.