1. Pregnancy
  2. Dads Guide to Pregnancy
  3. Early pregnancy

Exercise and your partner in early pregnancy

Unless you’ve been told otherwise by a health professional, light to moderate exercise is usually safe for your partner throughout pregnancy.

Safe exercise in pregnancy

After checking with their midwife or doctor, healthy women who have uncomplicated pregnancies can usually:

  • keep doing their regular, moderate exercise during pregnancy
  • start a light to moderate exercise program during pregnancy.

Why being physically active is good while pregnant

Being active during pregnancy has many benefits for mum and baby.

Around 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a few times a week can help women feel better during pregnancy. This is because exercise can:

  • improve mood, fitness and sleep
  • boost energy
  • ease back pain.

Physical activity during pregnancy might reduce the risk of the mother having gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and too much weight gain.

Also, exercise might help women cope better during birth. This is because exercise is good practice for the physical demands of labour and birth, as well as its mental demands, like ‘staying power’ and determination. Exercise during pregnancy might help to shorten labour. 

Exercising with your partner is a great way for the two of you to feel close and to build a sense of ‘team’ that will help you once baby comes.

Men’s levels of physical activity often go down once baby is born. But if you set up some healthy habits now, you and your partner might be more likely to keep being active after your baby is born.

How you can help your partner with exercise

Nausea, fatigue and other physical changes in pregnancy might mean your partner doesn’t feel like exercising. Changes in body shape might start to affect her balance and coordination in the coming months, and some activities might become uncomfortable.

A great way to encourage your partner to stay active – unless she’s been told otherwise by a health professional – is to exercise with her.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. So you could encourage your partner to go for a 30-minute walk with you. Start with three days a week and see if you can build up to five.

If your partner is feeling tired or nauseous, you might want to shorten the distance or encourage her to try again the next day.

Things you can do

  • Try to encourage your partner to be active, unless she’s been told otherwise by a health professional.
  • Stay active too – this will help keep your energy levels high, ready for baby’s arrival.
  • Walk with your partner. It’s a great form of exercise for you and your partner to do together, now and after baby arrives.
  • If you or your partner is unsure or worried about exercise during pregnancy, ask the midwife, GP or obstetrician about it at your antenatal appointments.

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Last updated or reviewed
12-10-2017

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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