Experts Say: Can I Exercise?

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You don’t have to stop exercising now that you’re pregnant. But take note of these dos and don’ts.


I used to go to the gym regularly and ever since I found out I was pregnant, I stopped completely. Will I be able to continue with my gym routine of weights and cardio classes in my second trimester? Are there exercises I should avoid?


If you were leading an active lifestyle before your pregnancy, you would be able to continue with your exercises as long as you do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. You should maintain a moderate intensity – if you are able to talk normally while exercising, the exercise intensity is at an acceptable level. Do not try to exercise beyond your current fitness level, and rest frequently if you are feeling breathless. Work at a level of intensity below the threshold. In general, expectant women can continue exercising in the same intensity before their pregnancy, or at a reduced intensity if their fitness levels drop.


Do avoid contact sports, competitive sports, activities that involve jumping, jarring motions or demand rapid changes of direction. After the first three months of pregnancy, it is best to avoid performing activities while lying on the back, as the weight of the womb may interfere with blood circulation. Also, avoid standing still for long periods of time. Strength training is safe during pregnancy and helps to keep the muscles strong and prevent aches and pains which are common in pregnancy.


However, do not carry weights that are too heavy as they might cause problems such as back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction such as incontinence. Light weights should be used throughout to prevent any unnecessary stress and strains. Weight training should focus on those muscles that support pregnancy, e.g. shoulders, lower back and thighs.


Before starting any form of exercise regimen during pregnancy, consult your obstetrician and gynaecologist. The following exercises are a guide for expectant mothers who have been advised by their obstetrician and gynaecologist to continue exercising during pregnancy:


Trimester One

  • Begin with walking, which is an easy and effective form of exercise, for about 30 to 60 minutes daily


Trimesters Two and Three

  • General stretching
  • Strengthening exercises, e.g. pelvic floor exercises, simple core/abdomen/back exercises to strengthen postural muscle, toning exercise classes such as Pilates in pregnancy
  • Start with low-intensity exercises, then progress to moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, e.g. aquafitness, fitball exercises, stationary cycling


You should stop all your exercises immediately and see your obstetrician and gynaecologist if you experience symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, nausea/ vomiting, feeling faint/light-headed, strong pain especially in the back/pelvis, reduced baby movement, chest pain or amniotic fluid leakage.


Thanks for sharing!