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20 Prenatal Exercise Tips

Friday, 14 February 2014 00:31
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Maegan Dougherty Photography Maegan Dougherty Photography

Mummy Trainer's Top Twenty Pregnancy Exercise Tips

Exercising during your pregnancy has many benefits, and not just for you but for baby too!

Even though you may want to exercise during this period, mums-to-be can often find that there is so much conflicting advice about which exercise is safe to do. Some friends and family are telling you to put your feet up and rest and you may find that you end up doing just that!

Well I’m here to give you some great advice on exercising during your pregnancy. Follow these tips to enjoy exercising safely during your pregnancy and to ultimately get fit for birth!

 1Cardio vs Strength Exercise-What is the best? The benefits of weights based strength training outweigh the benefits of just sticking with a walking program during pregnancy. Strength training increases lean muscle tissue and fat burning hormones. And due to a higher heart rate lifting weights you still get a cardiovascular benefit from a specific strength session.

2Avoid all Exercises that will increase a Diastasis (that’s pregnancy abdominal muscle separation if you have not heard the term before). A quick guide of exercises to avoid are:- crunches, Pilates 100’s and table tops, frontal planks, twisting movement. For more information have a look at my guides on preventing Diastasis During Pregnancy.

3You don’t have to purchase a heart-rate monitor to exercise safely during your pregnancy. Listening to your own body is a much better guide. We are all different and heart rates vary quite considerably during pregnancy. By using your own body as a guide you will stay in your aerobic (safe) zone which is approx. 70-80% intensity.  For more information on the correct intensity to exercise at during pregnancy check out my video link.  


4. Reduce your pre-pregnancy exercise duration by 10% during the first trimester, approx. 15-20% Second Trimester and approx. 30%-40% in the last Trimester. Everyone is different so listen to your body!

5If you are managing to exercise regularly, try to make sure you have a rest week every 6 weeks. This ensures that your body adapts and recovers. As a rule of thumb, for each hour you exercise have the equivalent rest  

6. Wear exercise gear that is comfortable; clothing that is too tight or restrictive will increase abdominal discomfort.

7. Keeping hydrated during pregnancy is very important: Aim to consume 2 litres of water a day, and add an extra 750mls for each hour you exercise.

8. Women who exercise during pregnancy tend not to show until 20+ weeks especially with first pregnancies. This is completely normal, so ignore comments from others suggesting you are too small! 

9Ensure you include corrective exercise at each stage during your pregnancy to maintain good pregnancy posture. Good alignment will help you carry your pregnancy much more efficiently and give your baby more room to grow and move.

10It’s a good idea not to start anything new, so just because you have read that swimming is good for pregnant women, if you have never swam before then its not a good time to start.

11If you feel any pain during your exercise you need to stop, especially if in your abdomen or pelvis. If pain continues, talk with your lead maternity care provider immediately.

12If any bleeding, nausea, or vomiting occurs you need to stop and you should not exercise again until you are cleared to do so


13. No KEGELS! Yes thats right continuos squeezes and holding of this muscle can over strengthen the muscle too much causing a muscle imbalance. For optimal strength and to prepare your pelvic floor muscle for birth and beyond then addressing alignment and performing squats are much more beneficial: READ MORE INFORMATION- No Kegels! 

14Do not participate in any contact sports after 14 weeks or exercise if labor has started and been stopped with medication before 34 weeks.15. Always make sure the conditions in which you are exercising are safe: avoid uneven terrain, wet floors, rooms that are too hot.

16. Whoever you choose to follow to help with your exercise program be that a personal trainer or a yoga instructor make sure that they have many years of experience training pregnant clients and have been through the journey themselves. Try to avoid following large fan based groups on media sites that have very little experience and qualifications.

17. Always be in contact, don’t go anywhere without your mobile phone, especially after 35 weeks!

18. You can eat within 60mins of exercising during your pregnancy as the intensity you train at is not hard. So if you are hungry before a training session snack on a banana or a handful of nuts.

19. From 30 weeks it can be hard to get your trainers on, I found that my old tri shoes with elastic laces where a godsend so swap your laces for elastic ones so you can just slip them on.

20. Maintaining your Exercise during your entire pregnancy can be hard, so enlist in the help of others if needed to keep you motivated..

Healthy mums have healthy babies. Exercise really is safe for you during your pregnancy and you and your baby will definitely benefit from your efforts.

If you have any more questions or want to follow my specific pregnancy program Fit2BirthMum check out my website 

Further Reading:

Prevent Diastasis During Pregnancy

Second Trimester Exercise Guidelines

Yoga & Pilates Are They Tummy Safe


If you feel any pain or discomfort whilst exercising, stop. If pain continues consult you L.M.C or G.P. The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine Scapens: She is not able to provide you with medical advice, information is used as guide. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training.

Read 7321 times Last modified on Monday, 03 March 2014 04:06

Pre & Postnatal Exercise & Wellness Specialist of 15+ years

My Pre and Postnatal FitMum Programs are different to what you will find anywhere else.

They are designed to provide safe, correct, motivational exercises that you can do at home or at the gym. They also include important nutrition and wellness advice.

I created the website to provide up-to-date information and exercise programs so that women globally can benefit from my many years experience and knowledge.

I have 3 young children of my own and at the moment juggle 2 business. I'm passionate about educating women on the benefits of exercise during and beyond pregnancy.

What you will often hear me say "Listen to your Body"  and "Less is More" when it comes to pre & post pregnancy exercise.

Hope you enjoy my articles please visit my website, blog and many social media sites, 


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