Prenatal exercise – the dos and don’ts

If you’ve got a bun in the oven but are still keen to keep exercising, then good for you. The benefits of prenatal exercise are plentiful after all.

But there are still a few things to consider before getting stuck in to a prenatal exercise program.

Firstly, get checked out by a doctor. Pregnancy can affect a number of factors such as blood pressure so it’s good to know what you’re working with.

Got the all clear?

Then the general rule of thumb is that, if you were doing it before you became pregnant, then you’ll generally be fine to continue.

That’s not to say that if you haven’t really been exercising much before then you can’t start now – with proper guidance, you absolutely can.

But probably not the best idea to take up anything too off the wall at this stage. You can take up the pole dancing classes down the line.

Here are a few more key considerations, broken down into some do’s and don’ts to make your life a little easier:



Prenatal exercise thumbs up Shutterstock Strong Fit Well

  • Try and do some kind of exercise every day – it could be resistance training, moderate intensity cardio or even just a walk.
  • Focus on strengthening the muscles you need most – that means strong legs to support your growing body and back muscles to cope with your swelling breasts and belly.
  • Master breathing connection and activating the pelvic floor at the start of every workout.
  • Be aware of your body – fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness and pain are all signs you should stop what you are doing pronto. Also watch out out for flaring ribs, doming abdominals or any any downward pressure.
  • Keep that core connection to avoid any excess curvature of the spine.
  • Hydrate properly during your workout.



Prenatal exercise thumbs down Shutterstock Strong Fit Well

  • Engage in high impact exercise after around 20 weeks. It can place too much pressure on your pelvic floor. Instead opt for brisk walks, swimming, cycling and sled pushes.
  • Do crunches – they can contribute to diastasis recti (aka separation). Focus instead on core exercises like bird dogs and side planks.
  • Planks and push ups should cease around the 20 week mark too in order to avoid separation of the abdominal muscles. Adding an incline may help counter this.
  • Go too heavy – you want to ensure no doming of the abs is taking place and that you aren’t feeling any downward pressure on your pelvic floor
  • Overstretch. Take your post exercise stretches down to about 70%. While the hormone relaxin is pumping around your body, it’s easy to overdo it.
  • Overheat. Hot yoga is out for now.


Are you undertaking a fitness program while pregnant?

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Journo turned fitness professional, passionate about helping people to live a healthier and happier life! A long way from London, I now call Sydney home.

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