Keeping active in pregnancy

Being active throughout your pregnancy will benefit you and your baby.

If you’re already active, being pregnant shouldn’t stop you. If you’re not doing much activity now, finding out you’re pregnant can be a great opportunity to start.

Everyday activity

Adding regular activity into your everyday life can help you:

  • feel better
  • manage your weight
  • be in the best shape possible for becoming a mum.

There are lots of activities to choose from – it’s best to check with your midwife or physiotherapist that whatever you choose is safe for you and your baby.

The benefits of being active

It won't take long to realise the benefits of being active. Keeping active is fun and:

  • you’ll feel like you have more energy
  • you’re more likely to feel well and able to cope, and less likely to feel tired and low
  • you might make some new friends

Regular activity during pregnancy means:

  • you will become stronger and more flexible, which may make labour and birth easier
  • you’re likely to sleep better

Ways to be active every day

To keep active you could try:

  • taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
  • walking instead of taking public transport or the car – or get off the bus a stop or two early and walk from there
  • giving gardening a go if you have a garden or if there’s a community allotment nearby - make sure you always wear gloves and wash your hands to prevent infection
  • walking your dog or borrowing a friend’s dog to walk

If you watch TV you could try getting up and moving around your house or garden during the breaks.

Exercise

Good activities are brisk walking and swimming or using a static bike.

Choose a low-impact class for pregnant women, such as swimming and aquanatal classes.

Yoga can be a great choice. It’s also a helpful way to learn relaxation and breathing skills that can help you feel calm and peaceful.

Meet other mums-to-be

Classes are a great way to meet other mums-to-be and build up a support network too.

See what’s on at your local leisure centre or ask your midwife for information about local groups.

How often

Try and be active every day, and aim to do at least 150 minutes a week.

You don’t need to do it all in one go – try sessions of 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

Stay safe

Being active is usually safe for both you and your growing baby. It’s important to get the balance right. Make sure you’re doing enough to give you real benefits, but not so much that you’re overdoing it.

As your body changes to get ready for birth, the ligaments around your spine, hips and pelvis soften. This makes them less stable and can mean you’re more likely to have an injury, so take care not to overstretch.

Ask your midwife for advice and remember:

  • to listen to what your body's telling you
  • to adjust your activity as your weight and shape changes
  • don't bump the bump

Risky activities

Some activities aren’t a good idea because there’s a chance you might have a hard fall or be thrown off balance.

Most GPs and midwives will suggest you:

  • stop cycling after 6 months
  • find safer alternatives to higher-risk activities or sports such as gymnastics, rugby and horse riding

If you already do a fitness class or play sport, tell your instructor or coach that you’re pregnant.

If you’re worried about the activity you’re doing or want help and support to be more active, talk to your midwife or physiotherapist.


Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

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