Safe exercise in pregnancy
After checking with their midwife, GP or obstetrician, healthy women who have uncomplicated pregnancies can:
- keep doing their regular, moderate exercise during pregnancy
- start a light to moderate exercise program during pregnancy.
Why being physically active is good in pregnancy
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 also reduce the risk of the mother having gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and too much weight gain. It might also help women cope better during birth.
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. Walking and swimming together are good exercise options in the second trimester.
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.
Exercise in the second trimester: what to look out for
In the second trimester, your partner’s baby bump is steadily growing. This and other changes in your partner’s body weight and shape might affect her balance and coordination from now until birth. Some activities might start feeling uncomfortable for her.
From the fourth month, changes in blood pressure mean that your partner should avoid quick changes of position – for example, from lying down to standing up. This will help to stop her feeling dizzy.
Walking: how to make the most of it
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. And right now, your partner can still enjoy walking with you. When baby comes, you probably won’t have the same amount of couple time and energy, so it’s great to spend this time together now.
You could encourage your partner to go for a 30-minute walk with you. Start with three days a week and see whether you can build up to five. If you’re used to more vigorous exercise, like running, think of the walk as a warm-up then do your run by yourself afterwards.
An exercise routine based on regular walks is probably one that you could realistically keep up after baby is born. To help keep your partner safe and well, avoid walking or other kinds of exercise in the heat of the day. And remind her to drink plenty of water.
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.
- Think about swimming together. It’s another good exercise option, especially as your partner’s ‘bump’ gets bigger.
- If you or your partner is unsure or worried about exercise in the second trimester, ask the midwife, GP or obstetrician about it at your antenatal appointments.