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Should You Exercise During Pregnancy?

Over the years guidelines for exercise during pregnancy the guidelines have vastly evolved. As late as 1985 women were instructed not to engage in physical activity while pregnant.   Today pregnant women report being given conflicting advice about exercising from various sources such as social media networks and family members.

The current focus of research and guidelines are on the benefits of an active pregnancy to which there are many. They are as follows:

 – Reduces the risk of pre-term delivery

– Decreased back pain

– Improved energy

– Reduces the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes

– Improved post partum recovery

– Shorter first stage of Labor

– Enhanced mood and body image

– Health benefits for the baby



Despite these researched benefits many women are not reaching the recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. When asked during a study into barriers for exercising during pregnancy most women reported lack of time, energy, physical discomfort and being unsure about the safety of being physically active.

Despite the lack of time and physical discomfort pregnancy is a time where health should be prioritized. So what is safe? Here is a brief guide of considerations:

– A healthy woman with a normal pregnancy can continue her regular exercise routine, but should always confirm with a physician.

– If starting a new exercise routine, start and progress slowly.

– Avoid exercising in extreme air pressure (e.g., exertion at altitudes above 6,000 ft. 
and scuba diving).

– Avoid contact sports and activities

– Avoid exercising while lying on your back and motionless standing after the first 

– Breathing is important — avoid holding one’s breath.

– Aim to exercise in a moderate temperature environment and maintain proper hydration.

– Due to impaired balance, avoid activities with a high risk of falling (e.g., biking).

– If needed, increase caloric intake to meet the energy costs of exercise and pregnancy.

As Osteopaths here at Middle Park Osteopathic Clinic, we work with lots of pregnant clients to ensure that they can remain active during pregnancy or help them build a program to become active.


Janine Round

This post was written by Dr Janine Symington.

You can find out more about her here or book an appointment online here.

Alternatively, you can call us at the Clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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