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Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant

5 min read | 05 July 2021

There are numerous benefits to pulling the runners on and getting active during your pregnancy – both for mum and baby.


Listen to our Podcast episode above on exercising while pregnant.

Exercise may reduce your risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. It has additional benefits such as reducing back pain, easing constipation and maintaining a healthy weight.

For a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, it is safe to continue or start physical exercise at any stage. However, despite our intentions, there are sometimes factors that can interfere with our exercise plans.

Some tips to overcoming common barriers to exercise are shared here from Melbourne Pregnancy and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. Remember to always seek specialist advice with any concerns, as this is general guidance only. We hope to help keep you progressing on your ‘bump-fit’ journey.

If you’re a non-exerciser pre-pregnancy

It’s not too late to start. In fact, if you aren’t into regular physical activity, your pregnancy news could be the perfect motivation to establish an exercise routine. Walking is a perfect activity to begin with as it targets the cardio-respiratory system and lots of the major muscle groups. It’s also free and requires no fancy equipment. Start with setting a small achievable goal, and gradually build up (e.g. around the block). Exercising 30 minutes a day is a good minimum and you can progress from there as you feel able. There’s also nothing like some comfy new active wear to give you that extra motivation to head out the door!

If you’re a second (or third) time mum

There’s nothing like keeping up with a toddler to drain your energy and limit your self-care time during your subsequent pregnancies – especially if you work, your partner does, and if you have limited family support or babysitting options. To overcome these challenges (and the accompanying mum-guilt) try and include your kids in your workout routine – go for a walk with the pram, or have your kids join in to a floor-based yoga workout. Incidental exercise is also great – try and walk to the shop rather than hop in the car. You might find that you get less done in each session than you would like – but aim for a cumulative total of 30-60 minutes of total ‘exercise’ each day.

If you have pelvic girdle pain (or back pain)

You might find walking or prenatal classes difficult, depending on your symptoms. If pelvic pain is holding you back – try an exercise bike. Stationary cycling enables the pelvis to be kept supported with both feet planted, which minimises the stress on the joints, it’s also low impact. Water based exercise can also be helpful for painful joints, just beware of doing lots of kicking (especially frog-leg style) as this can aggravate joints. Try some gentle laps with a pool buoy between the knees or hold the edge of the pool for an aqua-aerobics style workout.

For further tips and advice related to your specific circumstances get in touch with Melbourne Pregnancy and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. They offer pre and postnatal classes, which are suitable for you through pregnancy until you give birth and can be recommenced from six weeks postpartum!

For more information about specific exercises to do while pregnant, read or listen to S1, episode 4 of our Pure Parenthood podcast. We cover the best exercises to do while pregnant and the benefits of each!

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