Keeping active during pregnancy is good for you and your baby
Getting pregnant does not mean you should cease all physical activity. In fact,
keeping fit during pregnancy improves your stamina and helps you maintain strength and endurance. It helps you cope and may even shorten your labour. More importantly, it helps you get back in shape after your delivery.
It is advisable to check with your doctor before you start an exercise regime, especially when you have any medical condition (e.g. serious heart disease, high blood pressure etc) or have some problems in your past or current pregnancy.
You can continue your normal daily physical activity such as walking for as long as you feel comfortable. If you are in a gym or exercise class, do let your instructor know that you are pregnant. If you are not normally active, do not start strenuous exercises suddenly. You can start slowly with as little as five minutes of physical activity and increase the intensity and duration as your stamina increases.
Moderate physical activity is recommended on most, if not all days of the week. It is important not to over exert yourself. As a general rule, you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising.
For normal pregnancies, the following exercises and sports are suitable throughout the pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, you may have to reduce the intensity.
If you cannot fit an exercise routine into your schedule, you can increase physical activity by using the stairs instead of the lift. If you take public transport, consider getting off the bus one stop earlier and walk home. Even a walk after dinner will do you good.
The pelvic floor muscles support the bowel, bladder, womb and vagina. Pregnancy and childbirth can stress the pelvic floor muscles and cause leaking of urine when you sneeze, cough or strain (also known as stress incontinence) during pregnancy which may persist later in life. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles will reduce this risk. It should start during pregnancy and continue even after delivery.
Imagine trying to hold or stop urinating by squeezing the lowest muscles of your pelvis. Try to hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds and release slowly. Relax your abdominal muscles while doing it and do not hold your breath. Alternatively, perform short and hard squeezes and repeat 10 times. This exercise can be performed lying down, sitting or standing.
Be sensible when you exercise during pregnancy because it can have an impact on the foetus.
Avoid sports or exercises that put you at risk of:
Stop exercising and see your doctor if you feel unwell or have any concerns about your foetal well-being. Some of these
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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