All pregnant women, like all adults, should aim to exercise to a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week – unless they have been told otherwise by their health professional. Specific advice on what to do for exercise when pregnant falls into two main categories.
- For women who already exercise regularly can continue to do so, doing the things they already do if they feel able. This can include higher impact activities their bodies are already accustomed to. As the pregnancy progresses it may be wise to lessen the higher impact exercises and seek advice on what exercises are safest to do.
- For women not exercising regularly start slowly and gently. Walking, stationary cycling, swimming, gentle yoga or Pilates are best. Rather than aiming for 30 minutes of continuous exercise, break this into 10-minute chunks one to three times a day, gradually building up to two 15 minutes session a day and finally one 20-30 minutes session.
For all women who are pregnant is it recommend to avoid exercises like sit-ups, tummy crunches and planks after the first trimester (to protect the abdominal muscles from large separation).
Later in pregnancy, it is recommended to spend less time exercising lying flat on your back (to help with blood flow) and standing unsupported on one leg (to protect a less stable pelvis).
For specific advice during your pregnancy speak to your physiotherapist.