24 January 2022

Exercising during pregnancy – the do’s and don’ts

February 13, 2015

Many people mistakenly believe that being pregnant is a time when a woman needs to abandon her fitness routine and simply sit on the couch. But as long as you modify your training and use common sense to accommodate your growing bump, you can continue to exercise. In fact you’ll probably feel better for it.

In this short film, Equinox captures a day in the life of triathlete Linda Baltes, whose (robust) fitness routine is an integral part of her pregnancy.

Linda’s routine will be too strenuous for most of us, but it works for her. It’s all about what you are used to and modifying your own routine to suit. Here’s what the experts have to say;

Jayne O’Brien the Pilates Manager at Equinox Kensington is a huge supporter of Pilates for pregnant women. It helps to strengthen your core muscles and as your centre of gravity changes, strong core muscles will help avoid weak lower back muscles.

Pregnant women need strong legs so squats and inner thigh exercises are excellent.  Once the baby is born you will need strong upper back muscles for lifting and carrying, so arm springs with resistance seated and standing will help you prepare.

Lee Brooks, a Tier 3+ Personal Trainer at Equinox Kensington recommends standing or kneeling core stability exercises, weighted rows that get the shoulder blades back together to hold posture through the changing weight/centre of gravity during pregnancy are also beneficial.

The main thing is that you’re not really trying to achieve huge strength increases or get personal best times,  you’re just trying to keep the strength you have and make sure glutes and core are fully active to help the body stay injury free and mobile.”

The benefits of exercising while pregnant are extensive, but they include having more energy and better sleeps. Stronger core muscles will help to reduce pregnancy discomfort and a stronger and fitter body will help you prepare for the birth.

What to avoid 

According to Jayne, pregnant women should avoid too much lying on their back after the first trimester as this limits oxygen to the baby. Also avoid exercises where you go upside down, or up on a chair where balance is an issue and you could fall.  Side-lying, seated and standing exercises are the best ones to choose.

Lee adds that you should not work too intensely on cardio exercises and avoid driving up your heart rate and blood pressure too high. Also stay clear of overhead work in the third trimester and do not lay on your stomach.

Finally make sure you stay hydrated and cool, and it is recommended that you avoid hot environments whilst training.

The Women’s Sports Magazine

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