Being active during pregnancy has many benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. These include improving your sleep, improving your mood, helping to prevent diabetes of pregnancy and high blood pressure problems, and helping to support healthy weight gain. Staying active throughout your pregnancy will also give you the best chance of a good recovery, whatever happens during your labour.
Anything that moves your body counts as activity, such as walking to the shops, playing with your children, and gardening. It’s up to you how you get active, but the more fun you have and the easier it is to fit into your routine, the better.
If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and you are already active it is safe to continue with physical activities throughout pregnancy. If you are concerned about starting or continuing to be active during your pregnancy, the Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy has been designed to help identify the small number of individuals who might need to consult with a healthcare professional before taking part.
If you’re new to activity, start gradually and build up your activity levels over time, eventually aiming for 150 minutes of physical activity at a moderate intensity, spread throughout the week. You don’t need to do it in big chunks – every active minute counts! Activities can include walking, exercise classes, taking the stairs, swimming, gardening and housework or any activity that makes you breathe faster whilst still being able to hold a conversation.
Try to also include strength and balance activities twice per week e.g. walking uphill, taking the stairs, carrying shopping bags, and pregnancy yoga. This will also make your joints stronger, improve circulation, ease backache and generally help you feel well.
Drawing your baby towards your spine with your tummy muscles can help you carry the weight of pregnancy.
Being active is not dangerous for your baby. If it feels comfortable keep going, if it is uncomfortable stop and seek advice. Listen to your body and adapt activities where you need to. You should stop and see your Midwife, GP or healthcare professional if you experience any bleeding, persistent excessive shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, incontinence, or muscle weakness affecting balance.
Remember not to bump your bump – so avoid activities with an increased risk of injury through physical contact or falling such as activities like horse riding, surfing, boxing, football, and basketball.
Read more about activities to avoid during pregnancy.