Keeping active during pregnancy

Moderate exercise

We recommend that you keep active during your pregnancy with around 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. 

Moderate exercise will make your breathing and heart rate increase and have a number of benefits, both for you and your baby.

Regular physical activity during pregnancy has been shown to:

  • make you feel good and give you energy
  • makes you less tired and help you sleep
  • help improve your blood sugar control and may help prevent gestational diabetes
  • increase your stamina which may help you and your baby through labour
  • help you recover more quickly after the birth
  • help you maintain a healthy weight during and after your pregnancy

If you do some physical activity during your pregnancy you are more likely to continue this after you have given birth and therefore get the longer-term benefits of physical activity including some protection against developing heart disease, 'thinning' of the bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, colon cancer and breast cancer.


It is perfectly safe to have sex during your pregnancy, but it may not be all that easy.  You will probably need to find different positions as lying flat on your back after 16 weeks is not advisable.  Your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to avoid sex if you have had any heavy bleeding in pregnancy as sex may increase the risk of further bleeding if the placenta is low or there is a haematoma (a collection of blood).  You may also be advised to avoid sex if your waters have broken (rupture of membranes) as this can increase the risk of infection.  If you are unsure ask your midwife or doctor.

What type of physical activity should you do whilst pregnant?

  • walking is the easiest activity to fit in to your daily life
  • walk rather than catching the bus or driving the car
  • walk your children to school
  • take the dog for an extra walk (it won’t mind)
  • go for a walk with your family at the weekend
  • climb the stairs rather than taking the lift
  • housework - vacuuming and cleaning will give you a good work out (and a clean house!)
  • gardening - remember to wear gloves to avoid picking up infections like toxoplasmosis
  • gentle stretching will help you stay flexible

Pelvic floor exercises are also important during pregnancy and are advised for all pregnant women. They can help to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, which can come under strain whilst you are pregnant and especially during labour

Look out for these type of classes in your area:

  • aquanatal or swimming - exercising in water is really good in pregnancy as the water supports your bump, takes the strain off your back and helps your muscles
  • yoga – ask the instructor for advice as not all exercises are suitable for pregnancy

What exercises should you avoid whilst pregnant?

  • after 16 weeks, avoid exercise that involves lying on your back for prolonged periods of time as the weight of your baby may press on the major blood vessels and may reduce the blood and oxygen flow to the baby. It may also make you feel faint
  • avoid activities which may cause harm to yourself or your baby, where you may fall or cause excessive joint stress (cycling, horse riding skiing etc)

More information 

For further information, please contact us: 

Last updated: 20 October 2017 11:38:29