A GP guide to exercise during pregnancy

Not only is exercising during pregnancy safe in most women, it improves maternal and fetal outcomes

Need to know: 

  • Exercise in pregnancy is recommended for all women without contraindications - even those who were previously inactive, overweight or obese.
  • Not exercising in the first trimester increases the risk of pregnancy complications.
  • Initiation of pelvic-floor muscle training during pregnancy reduces the risk of urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy.
  • Returning to exercise in the postnatal period should be gradual and consider pelvic and general musculoskeletal health.
  • The prevalence of pelvic-organ prolapse, and urinary and faecal incontinence is high and warrants early assessment and treatment.

Many women will seek guidance from their healthcare providers on physical activity throughout pregnancy.

While there are many things pregnant women are advised not to do, for most women, exercise should be encouraged and will