Exercises during pregnancy

This is a guide to help you stay active and fit during your pregnancy. Apart from your overall fitness, exercise in pregnancy helps with common pregnancy problems such as back pain and pelvic girdle pain. It is generally safe, except in certain conditions during pregnancy. Please discuss your tailored exercise plan with us at OBSGYN London, at your first booking visit.

The UK Chief Medical Officer’s guidance on physical activity in pregnancy is summarised in the infographic below.

  1. Warm up before and cool down after. Start gradually if you have not been active before.
  2. Any exercise is beneficial. Commit to at least 30 minutes of daily walking.
  3. Take precautions if the weather is hot.
  4. Drink plenty of water and fluids.
  5. Wear a sports bra, a belly support belt and loose clothing.
  6. Attend classes run by qualified instructors.
  7. Walking, swimming, ( aquanatal classes) , jogging, dancing, stationary biking, modified yoga and modified pilates, some aerobics are recommended in pregnancy.
  1. After 16 weeks avoid exercises that need you to lie on your back.
  2. Avoid kickboxing, judo, squash and other contact sports or high impact racquet sports.
  3. Avoid scuba diving and Skydiving.
  4. Avoid exercising at high altitudes, as 2,500 meters (approximately 8,200 feet) above sea level.
  5. Avoid horse riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics, and outdoor cycling,

Avoid Hot yoga” or “hot Pilates

Some exercises in pregnancy you can do:

Some safe exercises in pregnancy are explained step by step below:

The box of table top position : (Reference-Video)

  1. Start on all fours: Begin on your hands and knees, making sure your wrists are aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Hands : Place your hands flat on the ground with your fingers pointing forward. Your palms should be directly under your shoulders.
  3. Knees : Your knees should be hip-width apart and aligned under your hips.
  4. Back : Keep your back straight and your abdominals engaged. Imagine a     straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone.

B. Pelvic tilt : For posture ,back muscles, muscles of your lower belly and core stability.(Reference-Video)

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Place your hands on your hips or hold onto the back of a sturdy chair or countertop for support.
  3. Tilt your pelvis forward by arching your lower back and then tilt it backward by rounding your lower back.
  4. Perform this movement slowly and rhythmically, focusing on the tilt of your pelvis.
  5. Continue for 10-15 repetitions.

C. Pelvic floor or Kegels exercises: Best started in the 9th month of pregnancy: (Reference-Video)

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to perform the exercises.
  2. Sit, stand, or lie down with your legs slightly apart.
  3. Focus on the muscles in your pelvic floor, the ones you would use to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas.
  4. Tighten these muscles by squeezing them inward and upward. It should feel like you’re lifting and squeezing the area around your vagina and anus.
  5. Hold the contraction for 3-5 seconds, or as long as you can comfortably manage without straining. Aim 3 to 8 squeezes
  6. Release the contraction and relax for an equal amount of time.
  7. Repeat this process for a set of 10-15 repetitions.
  1. Aim to perform Kegel exercises 2-3 times a day.

  1. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, September 2019. This can be accessed here:
  1. American Pregnancy Association guidance: Exercise During Pregnancy and Kegel Exercises. Kegel Exercises: Benefits and How to Do Them. 2024. This can be accessed here:
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/exercise-during-pregnancy/ and here https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/exercise-guidelines/
  1. ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) patient information guidance: Exercise in pregnancy. Accessed here: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy

  2. NHS England guidance: Exercise in pregnancy. This can be accessed here: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/

  3. National Childbirth Trust: Exercise during pregnancy: what to know. This can be accessed here: https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/exercise-and-fitness/exercise-during-pregnancy-what-know