There’s plenty of evidence to prove exercising and staying active through pregnancy and postnatally is great for your mental and physical health. Regular activity improves your emotional wellbeing, too. It reduces depression, helps with hypertensive disorders, and cuts the risk of developing gestational diabetes. But how do women balance exercise and pregnancy wisely? How much should a woman exercise when pregnant? What are the best pregnancy exercises? And are there any exercises to avoid when pregnant? Read on to find out.
What type of physical activity should I do while pregnant?
The idea is to exercise gently during pregnancy. It’s really good for you and your baby, helping you stick to a healthy weight and preparing your body for labour. The stronger and fitter you are at the stage you give birth, the better.
Walking is perfect. Running is fine for experienced runners, obviously not so wise if you’re pregnant and haven’t gone running before. Yoga, aerobics and pelvic floor/abdominal exercises are also ideal.
How much physical activity should I do while pregnant?
Basically, any amount of physical exercise is better than nothing. It makes sense to avoid anything too strenuous, especially in hot weather, and keep your fluid levels up. Always warm up first and down afterwards, exactly as you would when not pregnant. And make a plan to get active every single day.
It’s interesting to know that just two and a half hours of exercise a week should be enough when you’re pregnant. And there’s no need to do it all in one go. Break it up into ten minute chunks if you like, spreading your activities throughout the day.
If you were exercising regularly before you became pregnant, keep it up as long as you feel comfortable. Just bear in mind it doesn’t have to be a strain to do you good. If not, start now! Kick off with 10 minutes a day, maybe a brisk walk. Then build it up steadily to your 150 minutes a week.
Whatever you do, listen carefully to your body. It knows best. As long as you can comfortably chat while exercising, all is well. If you’re getting out of breath, calm things down.
Is physical activity during pregnancy safe for all women?
Unless there’s a medical reason why you shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy, moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity will do you a lot of good. But there are some exercises that all pregnant women should avoid.
Never lie on your back for longer than a few minutes, especially after the 16 week mark. Your bump could press on blood vessels to make you feel faint and you may even pass out. Avoid any exercise where your bump might get hit, or where you risk falling. Scuba diving is not a good idea, to be avoided completely when pregnant unless you want decompression sickness and gas embolisms. And avoid exercising at more than 2500m above sea level unless that’s where you live and your body is used to the altitude.
About This Mum Moves
Maintaining a physical lifestyle will provide plenty of benefits to mum and, as a consequence, baby. Another way to help your baby is to store their precious life-saving stem cells with Biovault Family. You can find out more by downloading our brochure or talking to our team on 01752 753723.
- Sport England
- Department of Health: (2017) Physical activity for pregnant women [Accessed 16th October 2017].
- “Patient. (2017) Pregnancy and physical activity.” [Accessed 16 October 2017]
- Harding M. (2017) Pregnancy and physical activity.[Accessed 19th October 2017]