Carol App Team
Community Questions - Can I exercise in pregnancy?
'I'm not sure if I can exercise in my pregnancy. What do you other mums do?'
Keeping active during pregnancy is healthy for you and your baby, unless you have been told otherwise by your health professional or have any contraindications such as a significant physical injury, abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding, persistent or recurring localised pain or an acute bout or illness / chronic underlying disease - in which case you should consult with your midwife or GP before undertaking any exercise.
There's a shocking statistic that says more than 1/4 of mums feel like they shouldn't or can't exercise during pregnancy but this isn't true! There are many benefits of staying active during pregnancy and these include a 30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes, less pregnancy tiredness, reduced incidence of lower back pain as well as less pregnancy weight gain.
Modifying your exercise routine to how you feel and how far along you are in pregnancy is advisable and it is recommended to include a 10 minute warm up and cool down pre and post exercise to help reduce an increase in blood pressure.
Some general guidelines are-
1st Trimester - continue being active as usual. If you're new to exercise, try build up gradually - walking is great to start with! We want to avoid things like hot yoga and saunas to prevent overheating.
2nd Trimester - we want to avoid laying on our backs for longer than a few minutes once you're past 16 weeks pregnant as well as sit-ups and stomach crunches. When you are exercising, make sure you can hold a conversation throughout to ensure you aren't overexerting yourself.
3rd Trimester - swimming, walking are great during the third trimester. Keep listening to your body and if it feels good and you aren't out of breath and overexerting yourself, keep it up! Stay hydrated throughout too! Cycling in the gym is a good exercise in third trimester as it's low impact and very little movement for your bump.