Can I continue exercising while pregnant?

As a general rule, if you were fit and healthy before your pregnancy, it should be okay to continue with your exercise regime, with appropriate modifications. It’s always advisable to talk to your doctor or your physiotherapist about whether and how much you can exercise. They can also guide you to the right set of exercises for you and your baby-to-come.

Walking is one exercise which is commonly recommended by every doctor. There are a few reasons for that – it’s simple, it’s what we do everyday, and it does not take a lot of effort. To top it all, walking has amazing benefits. You can follow our pregnancy walking regime to help you get started with it.

If you have been doing aerobics before you got pregnant, it is generally a good idea to lower their intensity. The reason being that since you are pregnant, your body will use up more oxygen now. And thus less amounts of oxygen will be available for consumption during exercises. Keep in mind that your breathing and heart rate will increase a little when you are exercising. It is common and there is nothing to worry about. Also keep in mind that you should stick to low-impact aerobics when you are pregnant, even if you were highly fit before you got pregnant. Low-impact aerobics means you should keep one foot on the floor at all times. This is because high-impact aerobics (exercise such as running, jumping, twisting, hopping) have a tendency to put a lot of strain on your muscles, joints, and pelvic floor.

If you have been lifting weights before you got pregnant, you can continue doing so (again, with the advice from your doctor or physiotherapist) as long as you are not lifting any heavy weights. Your goal right now should be to maintain the tone of your muscles, and not to build up muscles. And this can easily be achieved with light weights.

Therefore, it is a good idea to use lighter weights and do more repetitions, which is better than lower number of repetitions of heavier weights. You will feel tired during weight lifting, and it is okay. Just ensure that you allow yourelf ample resting time till you feel ready for the next repetition. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it is usually advised to consult with your physiotherapist or doctor regarding your regime.

General tips for exercising during pregnancy

  • Don’t hold your breath while you exercise.
  • Stop exercising, and take a break when you feel tired.
  • Your goal is to maintain your current fitness level and not aim for peak performance.
  • Eating properly is important, because exercising burns a lot of calories. So eat a lot of wholegrain foods if you tend to exercise a lot.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back or standing still for long periods of time while exercising, especially after the 16th week of pregnancy. This is because doing so might reduce the supply of blood to your womb, and will also make you feel dizzy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water and coconut water work best). Wear light and comfortable clothes.
Related articles:

Why should I exercise during pregnancy?
FAQs for walking during pregnancy