Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?


Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

When our mothers and even grandmother were pregnant the general consensus was the exercising whilst pregnant was an extremely bad idea, because exercising will create an unhealthy environment for both mother and foetus. Thankfully research has dispelled these theories, and has in fact shown that there are many short and long term benefits to the health of mum and baby, if mum were to continue exercising and staying active when pregnant.

Many health care organisations around the world recommend that mum aims for a moderate amount exercise for about 20 – 30 minutes a day for at least 3 days a week. Although these guidelines have been recommended for nearly 20 years now, less than 15% of pregnant meet them.

Exercise during pregnancy has a huge number of benefits  for mum and baby. Studies have shown that exercising during pregnancy can decrease mum’s risk for gestational diabetes, as well as lowering the chance that baby will develop diabetes throughout their lifetime. Moderate physical exercise effectively supports foetal growth and development in the current generation and future generations by its epigenetic impact. Other benefits exercise include limited weight gain, improved mental state, and improved cardiac function for mum.

Exercising during pregnancy has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on the birth. In a research has found that women who were exercising through the pregnancy had a shorter labour, a shorter stay in hospital, and almost a 25% lower chance of having a c-section and once born their baby’s APGAR (“Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration) score were higher.

A review by the Danish National Birth Cohort found that the in over 92 000 pregnant women the was no link between risk of miscarriage and the amount of exercise performed, there was no added or increased risk to exercising pregnant women compared to those who remain sedentary. A study in Norwegian has also found that exercising 3-5 times a week reduced the rates of preterm labour.

What are the risks of exercising when pregnant?

If you have any underlying health conditions or have suffered with problems during  pregnancy it is important that you seek advice from your OB, before going forward with any exercises.

If you have any of the following conditions, you need to seek professional advice about whether or not you should be exercising, and if so what activity is appropriate for you.

  • short cervix or current cerclage
  • carrying triplets or more
  • pre-eclampsia
  • placenta previa after 24 weeks
  • premature rupture of membranes
  • vaginal bleeding after 24 weeks
  • cardiomyopathy


When exercising whilst pregnant please note that dehydration, hypoglycaemia and exercise hyperthermia can affect the health of your baby, therefore it is vital that you are well nutrition and hydrated whenever exercising and throughout your pregnancy. On hot days you will need to decrease the intensity of your activity and drink a sufficient amount of water. It should also be noted that if at any point during exercise you start to experience dizziness, chest pain, irregular heart heat, calf swelling or vaginal bleeding or leaking then you must stop exercising straight away, and visit your doctor for a check-up.

If you were a person who lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle before getting pregnant and wants to gain the benefits of exercise for you and your baby it is best to start with low intensity aerobic exercises, and slowly increase the intensity levels and amount of time you spend working out.

Should you need any advice about exercising during your pregnancy please contact your GP, OB or osteopath.

Call:     03303  904 300
You can also book an appointment online at


Surrey Osteopathic Care. 2020. Exercise During Pregnancy – Why it Will Benefit You AND Your Baby — Surrey Osteopathic Care. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 December 2021].