Recommended Exercises During Pregnancy

Recommended exercises in pregnancy (PREGNANCY)Developing and improving fitness with both cardiovascular exercises and strength training exercises is recommended in pregnancy. Due to the various physiological and anatomical changes that occur during pregnancy, the type of exercises you choose must take two important factors into account:

  • Safety to both yourself and your baby
  • Comfort especially as the pregnancy progresses

Exercises To Consider During Pregnancy

Activities such as walking, jogging, running, hiking, low-impact aerobics, swimming, cycling, spinning, rowing and dancing have not been shown to have any negative side-effects for pregnant women. However, in the presence of pelvic instability symptoms, namely sacro-iliac joint pain or pelvic girdle pain, activities such as walking may aggravate the condition. The type of exercise you choose to partake in during pregnancy should suit your skills, abilities and preference.

Research on strength training during pregnancy is limited, however, there is a general consensus that says that using relatively low weights through a dynamic range of movement is a safe and effective form of resistance training. Conditioning exercises help maintain posture and prevent lower back pain. It is important to use the correct technique and breathing. Make sure you breathe out on the action of the muscle and never hold your breath.

When exercising during pregnancy, make sure you take your pelvic floor into account. The pelvic floor muscles are important for controlling continence. They are attached to the pelvic bone and act like a hammock, holding in your pelvic organs. They stretch from your pubic bone in the front, to your tailbone in your back and help support the bladder, rectum and uterus. When exercising, always make sure to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor – by holding in gas, then urine and finally draw your baby to your spine.

What To Avoid When Exercising During Pregnancy

The following activities should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Scuba diving: The foetus is at increased risk for decompression sickness at all stages of pregnancy
  • Exercise at an altitude greater than 6000 feet: The shortage of oxygen to the mother at this level also poses a risk to the baby
  • Any activities that have a risk for contact or falling and could therefore result in trauma to either the mother or the foetus e.g. soccer, gymnastics
  • Motionless standing: this can cause a drop-in blood pressure

Exercises that require you to lie flat on your back are also not recommended after 16 weeks of pregnancy. This is because in this position, your ever-growing uterus compresses a major vein in your body and may cause you to feel dizzy and faint.


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