Staying active while you are pregnant can offer health and wellbeing benefits to you and your baby. Physical activity can help you cope with pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, and can also support your mental health. You don’t need to do high intensity workouts to feel the positive effects either. Doing a small amount of physical activity most days is better than nothing.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Some of the health benefits you may experience by being active during pregnancy include:

  • better, longer sleep and management of insomnia
  • more energy
  • stress and/or anxiety relief
  • enhanced moods
  • improved fitness
  • reduced constipation
  • weight management
  • reduced nausea and heart burn
  • improved circulation
  • reduced lower back and pelvic pain
  • an easier return to your pre-pregnancy fitness and weight.

It can be easier to stay active when you are getting the nutrients you need, which will also support the health of you and your baby. Check out our advice for eating well in pregnancy.

What exercises should I do when pregnant?

For most women, 30 minutes of physical activity most days is recommended. Walking and swimming are low impact, low intensity exercises and can be great options for many women during pregnancy.

It’s important to exercise within your limits and speak to you doctor before taking on a new physical activity or program, especially if you were inactive before your pregnancy. Once you have consulted a healthcare professional and they have given you the all clear, aim to start with low-intensity activity and gradually build up your activity if you are able to.

If you were active before pregnancy, you may be able to continue your exercise routine during pregnancy as normal. Have a chat to your doctor or healthcare professional as a first step.

Visit the Australian Government Physical activity during pregnancy guidelines for more information, including recommendations on strength training and pelvic floor exercises.

Most physical activity is safe, just remember to:

  • take things easy 
  • stop when you are tired
  • drink plenty of water
  • wear suitable and comfortable clothing
  • remember to ‘warm up’ and ‘cool down’ to prevent injury
  • stop the activity if you experience any pain that doesn’t settle quickly.

Easy tips to help you stay active

  • Try taking the stairs instead of using the lift.
  • Add a five-minute walk to your day by getting off the bus or train one stop earlier or going for a walk in your lunch break.
  • If it’s accessible to you, find an activity you could do with friends or family, so it’s a social occasion which benefits your wellbeing too.

What exercises should I avoid when pregnant?

Be careful not to take on any physical activity that puts you at risk of falling or injury. If you were not doing high intensity exercise before your pregnancy, starting these types of exercises while you’re pregnant is not recommended. Instead, stick with low to moderate activity and speak to your healthcare professional about what your options are.

Visit the NSW Government website for more information on starting and growing a family.

Programs to help you

Get Healthy in Pregnancy is a free and confidential information and telephone coaching service for pregnant women in New South Wales aged 16 years and over.

This program can step you through all the information you need to know about staying healthy during and after your pregnancy. You can have information sent to you and have a university qualified personal health coach available to help you make healthy lifestyle changes.

You can receive up to 10 free calls over a six-month period to help you make healthy lifestyle changes. Your health coach could help you to:

  • eat healthy food
  • get active and stay active
  • achieve a healthy weight gain in pregnancy
  • not drink alcohol during your pregnancy.

Visit Get Healthy in Pregnancy