How much do you know about exercising in pregnancy? Have you even thought about it? Where did you get this information from? Observing others? Doing what felt right for your body?

The recommendations for the amount of exercise to do in pregnancy are actually the same as for the general population – what is different, is the type of exercise that is recommended.

There are so many good reasons to exercise in pregnancy – maintain your health and fitness, prepare for the birth, prevent excess weight gain and support your mental health.

The RANZCOG guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.

What is moderate intensity?

Moderate intensity involves increasing your heart rate and starting to sweat whilst still be able to talk. You should not feel completely out of breath or like you ‘couldn’t do any more’. You should be working harder than you would if you were just going for a walk or leisurely swim.
Why can’t I exercise at the same intensity I did before?
There are lots of changes happening in your body while you are pregnant – weight gain, a change in posture, hormones that loosen the support structures in your body and increased fluid just to name a few.

What are my options?

Swimming, cycling and brisk walking are good options for cardiovascular fitness during pregnancy.
Low impact exercise is recommended so avoid any jumping or skipping type movements.
Free weights are a great option for strengthening. Arm weights can be done sitting down to protect your pelvic floor. Lower limb weights or body weight exercises can be modified eg. A shallow squat rather than a deep squat. Throughout all strengthening exercises, make sure you have awareness of your pelvic floor muscles and are not holding your breath. You do not need to do pelvic floor muscle exercises throughout a whole workout but it’s important you are aware of them and avoid bearing down.

Are there any exceptions?

It is recommended to discuss any restrictions or precautions to exercise with your GP, midwife or C&WH Physiotherapist prior to commencing a program. There may be restrictions put in place for you with regards to exercise if you are considered a ‘high risk’ pregnancy. If this is you, remember to ask lots of questions regarding what you can and can’t do.

What about Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises?

These are so important for so many different reasons. Strong pelvic floor muscles have been associated with better birth outcomes and actually assist during a vaginal birth. They also assist with recovery post birth and prevent complications such as incontinence or prolapse to occur. If you have any concerns regarding your pelvic floor or are unsure how to exercise this muscle group, get in touch with a C&WH Physiotherapist.



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