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Exercise and pregnancy

By Lee Ajzenman, Physiotherapist and Lauren Charlton, Physiotherapist

Most women are aware that exercise plays an important role during pregnancy but are not always sure about how to go about it safely.

It is hard to get general advice, but this is with good reason. Exercise during pregnancy will be different for every woman and every bump, and when done safely and correctly you will both reap wonderful rewards.

Benefits of the right mix of exercise for you will include


  • Posture
  • Strength
  • Mobility
  • Endurance
  • General fitness and health
  • Balance
  • Body awareness
  • Pelvic floor function
  • Labour
  • Recovery
  • Mood
  • Sleep

And reduced:

  • Pain (back, pelvic, shoulders, pelvic floor)
  • Fear
  • Complications.

But what is the right mix?

This is a conversation you may have with your friends and family, or read about online. But if you want to thrive during and after pregnancy prioritise having this conversation with your GP, obstetrician, midwife or physiotherapist. A health professional will help safely guide you to understand and plan what will be best for you and your baby.

The World Health Organisation suggests that after medical clearance, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days throughout your pregnancy.

Some exercise ideas to start…

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Prenatal yoga or Pilates classes.

Some exercise to be careful of…

  • Activities or sports that pose a risk to you and your baby through falling/ projectiles/ tackling or the need for high level coordination and balance. There are many examples of these… so this is not an exhaustive list, but think rock climbing, horse riding, hockey, AFL, skiing.

So what is best?

  • Seek medical clearance/advice
  • Listen to your body
  • Set realistic prenatal and postnatal goals and have safe strategies to implement them.

Pre and post natal exercise and function is like being a mum. It’s a marathon, not a race. Ensure you are doing the right thing for both of you!

Last updated: July 17, 2020 at: 11:18 am