Exercise and Pregnancy

During and after pregnancy, your body changes significantly so it is important to adjust your exercise routine to suit each stage of pregnancy and your post-natal journey.

Common changes include bouts of nausea from rising levels of estrogen and progesterone, tender & swollen breasts, increased urination, fatigue and increased joint laxity due to hormones.

How can exercise help?

Exercise throughout pregnancy can improve fatigue levels, assist in managing pelvic pain and helps prepare you for labour. Exercising during this time is recommended as it can reduce the risk of pregnancy related hypertension and gestational diabetes. Although exercise is recommended during pregnancy, it is important to understand that not all exercises are suitable for pregnant women. 

How much exercise is enough?

Women without additional pregnancy related complications should try and meet the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines:

  • Doing some sort of physical activity is better than none at all. It is important to gradually build up to the recommended in order to avoid potential injury and risk to the pregnancy.

  • Be active most days of the week but preferably all days.

  • Aim to accrue 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity OR 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity OR a combination of both each week.

  • Do strength training on at least 2 non-consecutive days per week.


  • Exercise should be terminated immediately if any of the following occur:
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Dyspnea before exertion
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Chest pain
    • Muscle pain

  • Pregnant women should avoid exercises whilst in a supine position after the 1st trimester to ensure that venous obstruction does not occur.

  • Increased joint laxity as a result of hormonal changes can cause injury if not managed properly.

  • Contact sports, high impact activities and exercising in an overheated pool should be avoided.

Be sure to consult your GP and/or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before commencing an exercise program during and post pregnancy.