Published on

In the general population, in the absence of contraindications, all pregnant women are encouraged to be physically active for at least a minimum of 150 minutes per week. This should consist of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Depending on your usual volume of exercise it is common for this total volume to be reduced in the first and third trimesters due to a number of pregnancy related issues such as fatigue.

The below guidelines are a great starting point for exercising during pregnancy. These guidelines relate to those women who have an uncomplicated pregnancy. If you have additional health or pregnancy related concerns, please ensure you speak to your health care provider prior to undertaking exercise when pregnant.

  • Exercise during pregnancy does not increase the risk of adverse pregnancy or birth outcomes

  • Research says that pregnant women who were inactive prior to pregnancy should be encouraged to be active during pregnancy commencing low intensity activities such as walking and swimming and progressing to the lower end of the range recommended and national guidelines of 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of activity on most days. If you are unsure throughout, please seek advice from your health care practitioner.

  • There is strong evidence to support the benefits of physical activity for pregnant women including improvement or maintenance of:
    • muscle strength and endurance
    • cardiovascular function and physical fitness
    • decreased risk of pregnancy related complications such as hypertension
    • reduced back and pelvic pain
    • improved fatigue levels
    • improved mental health including reduced  stress, anxiety, and depression
    • reduction in excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention
    • fewer delivery complications
    • to aid in the prevention of urinary incontinence
  • Those who should be cautious with or complete low level exercise only with professional collaboration with medical personnel include those with a history of:
    • previous spontaneous abortion
    • history previous preterm birth
    • mild to moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disorder
    • anemia
    • malnutrition or eating disorder
    • twin pregnancy after 28th week
    • obesity  BMI >30
    • intrauterine growth restriction
    • other significant medical conditions such as poorly controlled type one diabetes or hypertension
  • There are contraindications to physical activity during pregnancy and these include those women who have below:
    • ruptured membranes
    • signs of preterm labor
    • hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
    • incompetent cervix
    • growth restricted fetus
    • high order multiple gestations eg  triplets
    • placenta previa after week 28
  • Woman who have experienced the following symptoms should seek advice from antenatal care provider before continuing exercise:
    • abdominal pain
    • amniotic fluid leakage
    • calf pain or swelling
    • chest pain tightness or palpitations
    • decreased fetal movement
    • dizziness or presyncope
    • dyspnea (shortness of breath) before exertion
    • excessive fatigue
    • excessive shortness of breath
    • muscle weakness
    • pelvic pain
    • preterm labor
    • severe headaches
    • uterine contractions
    • vagina bleeding
  • If any of the above complications relate to you please ensure you discuss any planned or proposed exercise regime with your lead health professional.

Our Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists can ensure you get an exercise plan that works for you and your pregnancy. To book please call 07 576 1860 or email