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Tips for safe prenatal exercise

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

The most important thing is to keep moving!

safe antenatal exercise

I'm often asked what types of exercise are safe during pregnancy and how long you can exercise before birth.

The good news is that exercise is strongly recommended during pregnancy for the mental and physical health of you and your baby. It is also helpful to prepare for labour and the demands of motherhood.

Pilates is safe throughout your entire pregnancy / antenatal period.

If you had an exercise routine (e.g. running, gym, Pilates, swimming, etc.) before pregnancy you are fine to continue these exercises in your first trimester, as long as you're feeling up to it of course.

However, as your bump grows, especially into the second and third trimesters, there are a few modifications you should make:

  • Low impact exercise is recommended as your bump grows because of the pressure that's already put on your pelvic floor so switching over to swimming (you'll also feel weightless in the water!), walking and low impact exercises classes is key

  • Avoid lying flat on your back for long periods of time to avoid supine hypertension syndrome

  • Avoid lying on your front for obvious reasons (there's a bump in the way!)

  • The Relaxin hormone during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding makes joints more 'relaxed' and impairs your balance so avoid overstretching and balancing away from a wall or sturdy chair

  • Your abdominal muscles are expanding and widening to make room as your baby grows, which is why we don't concentrate on crunches or heavily loaded abdominal exercises

  • Working on breathwork will not only help calm your nervous system but also helps tone your core including pelvic floor muscles

For those attending Pilates classes, you can keep coming up to and beyond your due date (how often are due dates actually spot on!). In fact, it's more important than ever to keep everything moving and work on your breathwork to prepare for labour.

The key takeaway is don't be afraid to move, your body is robust and baby is safe in your womb. Exercise and movement are key throughout your pregnancy and beyond!

If you like this prenatal advice, I also have a 6 week online on-demand postnatal course when you're ready. This course is designed with new mums (moms) in mind and can be done flexibly around your schedule. Click here to find out more about the course or email for any questions.

Bridge House Pilates


Meaghan Feldwick


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