When deciding to start a pregnancy exercise routine, it is advised that you should notify your Doctor or midwife prior to beginning as they can advise you on the best way to keep you and your baby healthy and safe while maintaining or improving your fitness levels.
Throughout your pregnancy it is safe and beneficial to participate in gentle exercise 3-4 times a week for periods of 20 to 30 minutes.
There are many types of exercises you can participate in safely throughout your pregnancy including:
We’ve listed a number of pregnancy exercises to try below, so keep reading!
Exercise in normal pregnancy can provide great benefits including:
There are some situations where exercise may not be advised such as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, placenta praevia, multiple pregnancy or pelvic instability. The doctor will advise you if exercise is not suitable during your pregnancy.
Moderate exercise during all stages of pregnancy is extremely beneficial for both you and your baby.
Why? Exercising during pregnancy helps to maintain or build muscle tone which reduces the likelihood of hip, pelvic, back or neck pain. It improves cardiovascular fitness to maintain healthy weight gain and best of all, exercise releases those happy endorphins that we all love (and sometimes desperately need during pregnancy).
The best pregnancy workouts are of moderate intensity, low cardio, and don’t contain jumping or crunching movements that could put you or your child at risk.
As your baby grows and your body changes, it's important to strengthen your lower back, abdominal & pelvic floor muscles. That's why the best pregnancy workouts should include prenatal yoga or Pilates.
Our 28 By Sam Wood pregnancy program provides safe exercises for mums and mums-to-be and will give you a variety of quality 28-minute workout options every day.
Want a safe pregnancy exercise routine to try at home? Jump into some comfy clothes, and follow along as Chloe Lorback, our resident women’s health physiotherapist, guides Snezana Wood through one of our pregnancy exercise programs.
Pregnancy Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Boxing Jabs with light hand weights, Alternating Leg & Arm Raises (great for pelvic stability), Clams, and a modified Plank that's safe for pregnancy.
Try each move for 30 seconds, and then take a 30-second rest in between each exercise. And, as always, listen to your body and stop if there is any discomfort.
When you're ready to try a full workout here is one of our favourites: 28 minutes of low-impact, pregnancy exercises guided by Sam Wood.
Try 'The Magnificent Seven', a great low-impact pregnancy workout you can do at home in just 28 minutes.
Pregnancy Exercises: No-Jump Burpee, Single Leg 1/4 Squats (left), Single Leg 1/4 Squats (right), Couch Plank, Resistance Running Arms, Squat Left-Right Punch, Step Step-Up.
Note: You will need a couch and access to a low step (any stable step around the house will do).
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend being active on most, or preferably all days of the week. They recommend accumulating 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week, ideally being active for at least 30 minutes at a time.
If you’re currently inactive, you can start with 3 or 4 days a week and gradually build up.
The thought of doing a thousand crunches to get rid of your post–baby "pouch" sounds pretty boring, right? As luck would have it, you don't need to, because crunches are as ineffective as they are dull for toning your ab muscles. In fact, working only the outer abdominal muscles, as crunches do, without strengthening the underlying ones first can actually make your “pouch” worse.
Do this move as early as one week after you have your baby if you had a vaginal delivery; if you had a C-section you might have to wait 8 to 10 weeks.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under your hips and another between your knees. Feet flat and your arms at your sides, inhale, then exhale and draw your abs in and tuck your pelvis under slightly, squeezing your buttocks as you do a Kegel (click here to learn how). Hold 5 seconds and release for 10 reps.
Benefits: Improves deep abdominal strength and stamina.
After six weeks, add this move to your routine. Lie on your back with feet hip-width apart, knees bent. Inhale, then exhale as you draw your abs up and in toward your spine. Tilt your pelvis up, lifting your hips off the floor into a bridge. Slowly lower down to starting position. Repeat 5 times, building up to 10.
Benefits: Strengthens the transverse, buttocks and lower back.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and abs drawn in. Flex your left foot, pressing your heel into the floor. Keeping your pelvis still, inhale, then exhale as you use your deep abdominal muscles to push your left heel away from your body, keeping the knee slightly bent. Return to starting position. Alternate sides, doing 5 slides on each side, working up to 10. Do these first three exercises together and in order for the next two weeks, then add move.
Benefits: Strengthens the transverse abdominal muscle.
Lie on your back, knees bent. Place a towel across your upper shins and grasp each end. Pull the ends of the towel and squeeze thighs together. Inhale, then exhale as you draw your abs in and lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold, and contract and release, your ab muscles 10 to 12 times, working up to 20. Do moves 1–4 in order for two weeks.
Benefits: Strengthens the transverse abdominal muscle and lower back, supporting your core.
Sam Wood and Women's Health Physiotherapist, Marney Jury, explain how you can strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy.