You may be eligible for subsidised activity passes, through the National Exercise Referral Scheme, which are available in most areas which include gym access and antenatal exercises classes. Speak to your midwife or Healthy Pregnancy Team for more information.
Exercise in pregnancy
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.
Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable.
Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. Research has shown that regular moderate exercise during pregnancy can
- Reduce the chance of you developing gestational diabetes
- Reduce the chance of you developing pre eclampsia
- Reduce the chance of gaining an excessive amount of weight that can lead to complications during the birth
- Improve your mood and emotional wellbeing
Keep Fit Videos
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board physiotherapy department have created some short videos on keeping fit and active during pregnancy and also one on how to help if you have symptoms of pelvic girdle pain. Please click here
Our Healthy Pregnancy Team can offer support with eating well, activity and achieving a healthy weight gain in pregnancy and beyond. Take a look at the leaflet or video to find out more about the service or contact the Healthy Pregnancy Team on 0300 303 4906 (option 3)
This service is available to pregnant women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 (or BMI over 27.5 if from Black, Asian or minority ethnic groups) from 12 weeks gestation through to 6 months after birth.
Our team is made up of Dietitians and Maternity Assistant Practitioners who can offer information about local opportunities to be active and antenatal exercise classes, group sessions with other pregnant women and tailored one to one advice from a dietitian for those who meet the criteria.
We can support you through telephone/video calls or face-to-face meetings.
We can also offer advice on coping with pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and sickness, anaemia and constipation.
Our aim is to support you to give your baby the best start in life, enable you to feel good and enjoy your pregnancy and achieve healthy habits for the whole family.
The Foodwise in Pregnancy app is free to download to your phone and has information and tips on eating well, keeping active and achieving a healthy weight gain in pregnancy. It breaks information down into six sections that you are able to work through at your own pace. With interactive games, quizzes and tools, it includes tips and advice for achieving a healthy diet, practical ideas for keeping active, recipes, shopping tips and a meal planner, as well as step-by-step pregnancy safe exercises.
The Foodwise in Pregnancy app can work on its own or alongside support from the Healthy Pregnancy Team.
Don't exhaust yourself. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your maternity team advises you to. If in doubt, consult your maternity team.
If you weren't active before you got pregnant, don't suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you start an aerobic exercise programme (such as running, swimming, cycling, walking or aerobics classes), tell the instructor that you're pregnant and begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times a week. Increase this gradually to at least four 30-minute sessions a week.
Remember that exercise doesn't have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
Exercise tips when you're pregnant:
- always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards
- try to keep active on a daily basis: half an hour of walking each day can be enough, but if you can't manage that, any amount is better than nothing
- avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather
- drink plenty of water and other fluids
- if you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher is properly qualified, and knows that you're pregnant as well as how many weeks pregnant you are
- you might like to try swimming because the water will support your increased weight. Some local swimming pools provide aquanatal classes with qualified instructors.
- exercises that have a risk of falling, such as horse riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling, should only be done with caution due to the risk of falling.
For further information on exercise in pregnancy please click here.
- Don't lie flat on your backs for prolonged periods, because the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint.
- Don't take part in contact sports where there's a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing
- Don't go scuba diving, because the baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism (gas bubbles in the bloodstream)
- Don't exercise at heights over 2,500m above sea level until you have acclimatised: this is because you and your baby are at risk of altitude sickness.
The All Wales Antenatal Education and Support Facebook group is for pregnant women and their families across Wales to access information relating to pregnancy and birth. A number of Health Boards across Wales have come together to provide women with antenatal education materials whilst they prepare for the birth of their baby.
Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone.
If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may find that you leak urine when you cough, sneeze or strain. This is quite common and you needn't feel embarrassed. It's known as stress incontinence and it can continue after pregnancy.
You can strengthen the muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. This helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises, even if you're young and not suffering from stress incontinence now.
How to do pelvic floor exercises:
- close up your anus as if you're trying to prevent a bowel movement
- at the same time, draw in your vagina as if you're gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine
- at first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
- then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10
- try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do a set at each meal
As well as these exercises, practise tightening up the pelvic floor muscles before and during coughing and sneezing.
For more information and exercises to try click