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Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

It is important to keep active every day. Half an hour of (brisk) walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount of exercise is better than none.Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy:
Three pregnant women perform yoga stretches
© Trinity College Dublin

It is important to keep active every day. Half an hour of (brisk) walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount of exercise is better than none.

Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy:

  • Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
  • If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t take up strenuous or vigorous exercise suddenly. Start slowly and build up gradually.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes, like leggings that fit over or under your tummy, but do wear a bra that will give you good support.
  • Wear shoes that have good support and are not slippery so you won’t fall.
  • Drink plenty of water, at least 1.5 litres every day, a little more when you exercise and in hot weather.
  • Don’t exhaust yourself. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses and as your baby grows, but keep exercising, keep active. If you are not sure what you should be doing, always ask your midwife, doctor or healthcare professional.
  • As a general rule, you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless as you talk, then you’re probably exercising too strenuously.
  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather.
  • If you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher is properly qualified, and knows that you’re pregnant, and how many weeks pregnant you are.
  • If you start aerobics or join a class (such as running, swimming, cycling, walking or aerobics classes), tell the instructor that you’re pregnant and begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times a week. Increase this gradually to at least four 30-minute sessions a week.
  • Swimming is great because the water will support your increased weight. Check with your local swimming pool and see if they offer aquanatal classes with qualified instructors. Find out if these are offered for free in your area.
  • Yoga, pilates and aerobics in water are a great way of exercising.
  • Exercises that have a risk of falling can cause harm to your baby.
  • Avoid exercises and activities that cause or involve jerking movements.
  • Don’t lie flat on your back.

Always…

  • Stop exercising and seek advice from your midwife, doctor or healthcare professional if you have any pain, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, faintness, shortness of breath, contractions, feel sick, leak fluid from your vagina, or if you think your baby has stopped moving.
  • Remember to keep doing your Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (PFMEs) regularly.
© Trinity College Dublin
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