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  • Writer's picturejacob sciacca

Exercise during pregnancy

Regular exercise during pregnancy has numerous health benefits including maintenance of fitness levels, weight control and improved mood. It also reduce the risk of complications during your pregnancy such as hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Exercise during pregnancy is important for not only physical health but for your mental wellbeing too, while you navigate the journey of pregnancy.


Benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:

·      Improved mood, reducing risk of anxiety and depression

·      Improved sleep health

·      Reduce low back and pelvic pain

·      Decreased risk of pregnancy complications such a hypertension and pre-eclampsia

·      Prevention and management of urinary incontinence



The body’s changes during pregnancy


As you progress in your pregnancy, your weight will increase and changes in weight distribution occur, which can affect your centre of gravity and balance. It is important to maintain strength to help support these changes.


Pregnancy increase your resting heart rate, so it’s best to not use your heart rate to monitor your exercise intensity. We recommend you use the ‘talk test’ or rate of perceived exertion. Whilst you’re doing your moderate intensity exercise, you should be able to speak in short sentences.


In second trimester your blood pressure reduces, so it’s important to avoid quick position changes e.g from lying to standing, to not experience dizzy spells.


Recommendation of exercise during pregnancy

150-300 minutes/ week of moderate intensity physical activity:

  • Power walking

  • Stationary cycling

  • Swimming       

2x resistance training/ week:

  • Clinical pilates (offered at DHG)

  • Low impact weight training


Pelvic floor muscle training

  • Guided by your physiotherapist


Pre-exercise screening

Assessment of potential contraindications and precautions to exercise should be undertaken prior to commencing exercise. This can be signed off on by your GP or Obstetrician. Your physiotherapist can then guide you through your exercise journey.


Contraindications include:

·      Placenta previa

·      Persistent bleeding

·      Pregnancy induced-hypertension

·      Pre-eclampsia

·      Risk of premature labour


Warning signs during pregnancy

Although rare, it is important to know what to look out for whilst your exercising to keep you and your baby safe.

·      Headache

·      Dizziness

·      Chest pain

·      Calf pain

·      Vaginal bleeding

·      Cramping in lower abdomen

·      Fluid leakage


At Darwin Health Group our expert physiotherapists can assess and guide your through your exercise journey and set you up with an individualised program that address any goals you may have.



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