Can I exercise when pregnant?

The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after birth. You can keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise for as long as you feel comfortable, with the approval of your doctor.

Be sure to warm up slowly, checking your temperature and pulse, and to keep hydrated. You shouldn’t exhaust yourself or exercise too strenuously. If you go to a class, inform your teacher that you’re pregnant and how many weeks pregnant you are.

Swimming is a great option as the water will support your increased weight. Exercises that have a risk of falling, such as horse riding, skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling, should only be done with caution. Falling risks harming the baby.

There are some exercises to avoid in pregnancy:

Don’t lie flat on your back for prolonged periods – this is especially important after 16 weeks because the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel carrying blood back to your heart.

Don’t take part in contact sports where there is a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing or judo.

Don’t go scuba diving because the baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism.

For most women, exercise is not dangerous for your baby, but you should stop immediately and consult with your doctor if you experience fever, palpitations, shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding, crotch pain, chest pain or lightheadedness.

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