How to exercise safely when you're pregnant

As soon as you tell people you’re pregnant, they’re going to have opinions – about everything.

What you should and shouldn’t eat, what you should be wearing, how long you should be working for – pregnancy somehow turns women’s body’s into fair game for public discussion. And it’s exhausting.

When it comes to working out and staying fit during pregnancy, it can be hard to know who to listen to. And there is a lot of misinformation out there.

The safety of both you and your baby needs to be the number one priority during this time, but exercise can be a huge physical and mental outlet for mums-to-be, and you shouldn’t let fear mongering put you off doing what you love.

We asked pre- and postnatal fitness professional Rosie Stockley, founder of Mamawell, for her advice on how to continue exercising thoughout your pregnancy – in the safest, most efficient ways possible.

‘Finding out you’re pregnant is life changing and brings so many conflicting and intense emotions and feelings,’ Rosie tells

‘For the first 12 weeks, the body is flooded with hormones and you may feel physically sick, fatigued and anxious.

‘From about week 13, the hormones settle and many women experience renewed energy and positivity.

‘For many, fitness will be the last thing on your mind on becoming pregnant, and it’s always important to listen to your body and mood.

‘However, the benefits of moderate exercise throughout pregnancy are extolled by health professionals with the NHS stating: “The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth”.

‘Please remember that the following advice is for a non-complicated, “normal” pregnancy. Please contact a healthcare professional at any point where you think you need more advice or extra care.’

The first 12 weeks – be careful

The first trimester is where the highest risk of miscarriage occurs, so it is important to be mindful of the intensity of exercise you are undertaking.

Many people choose to take it a little easy, ensuring they are confident and not feeling anxious about their exercise choices.

If you currently don’t do any exercise, at this point maybe just keep active by walking regularly and aim to start more formal fitness work in the second trimester.

If you are already active, and feel the need to reduce the intensity, then listen to your body for the first few weeks.

Don’t start something new

Throughout pregnancy as the body adapts, it is advised to exercise in a way in which you are familiar, and adjust the intensity as needed.

The growing abdomen changes your centre of gravity, affecting balance, and the hormone relaxin gives your muscles more elasticity – but possibly more instability – so at this point your body is not necessarily performing in the same way as it was pre-pregnancy.

The advice is stick with a type of exercise you know and enjoy.

Find a specialist pregnancy class

There are some really great antenatal Yoga and Pilates classes that are specially formulated to address the changes in your body and work to prepare the muscles for childbirth.

A class will keep you motivated, and you’ll meet like-minded women to support you.

Fitness “don’ts” in pregnancy:

It is best to consult with an antenatal fitness specialist before embarking on a pregnancy fitness regime, however everyone will want to avoid these habits.

Holding your breath

It is so important that the baby receives oxygen, and this comes directly from your breathing.

So no heavy lifting with straining and holding breath and no static moves like planks where it is hard to breathe deeply.

Lying on your back

After the first trimester, the growing baby means that the risk of supine hypotensive syndrome is greater.

This is where the growing uterus presses on the inferior vena cava which is responsible for carrying blood back to the heart. It is important not to restrict blood flow when pregnant.

Intra-abdominal pressure

Crunches, planks and other isometric movements that put a lot of pressure on your core are not advised.

Body temperature

We want to avoid raising the temperature of the foetus (especially in the first 12 weeks) as this can cause central nervous system disorders so avoid getting overheated, drink water, take breaks to cool the body down, and avoid saunas and steam rooms.

I am Team GB

Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.

Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.

Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.

To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at:

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