It’s natural to slow down during pregnancy as your transforming body adapts to different stresses and centre of gravity changes. Pregnancy is the time to reduce exercise intensity and continue with ‘safer’ exercise options.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends that women with low risk pregnancies participate in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes or more daily, on most days of the week. Speak with your doctor, women’s health physiotherapist or midwife before starting any new program.

Your heart works 30 to 50 per cent harder during pregnancy and the number of breaths taken per minute increase, especially after 28 weeks. Use the ‘talk test’ to monitor exercise intensity – if you can still talk while exercising, you’re working at a safe level.

Just to be safe

  • Avoid lying on your back to exercise after 16 weeks
  • Wear shoes that support your arches and ankles
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or bouncing activities
  • Stop contact or impact sports (jump and land sports, team ball sports)
  • Eat carbohydrates before exercise and take a snack to refuel  
  • Avoid trunk curling exercises to prevent excessive stretching on your abdominals (while they’re already under stretch)
  • Remember your pelvic floor exercises
  • Stay cool, exercise early in the morning and drink adequate water

Always stop if you experience

  • Pain, dizziness, swelling, difficult breathing, headaches
  • Bleeding, cramping, premature labour