Exercise During Pregnancy

If you have a regular exercise schedule, you should be able to continue this to some degree. Things to avoid are contact sports, those that involve jumping, jarring your joints or where you are at risk of falling. In the 2nd and 3rd trimester avoid exercises that involve lying on your back.

Exercises which you should undertake during pregnancy include walking, swimming, kegel exercises for the pelvic floor and toning exercises to work on abdominal muscles. Things to remember; take it slow, don’t push yourself too much, warm up and cool down, drink plenty of water, take regular breaks, wear comfortable shoes and clothes(a good bra), listen to your body.

If you experience any of the following, stop exercising immediately and seek medical advice:

  • vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage
  • chest pain
  • calf pain or swelling
  • uterine contractions
  • reduced fetal movement
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • increased shortness of breath

Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor, evidence suggests that strong pelvic floor muscles may shorten the pushing stage of labour, increases blood flow to the rectum and vagina reducing haemorrhoids and speeding up healing if you have an episiotomy or tear. To perform the exercise you should tighten the muscle around your vagina as if trying to stop the flow of urine. You should hold it for 4 seconds then release, repeat 10 times. You should work up to 3 or 4 sets 3 times a day.

Abdominal muscle exercises; on all fours, hands in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips, relax head forward, straighten back, then bring in stomach muscles, hold for a few seconds then release. Try to do 10 repetitions every day. If you get pain in your back at any time, stop.

If you want any more advice or information, ask your obstetrician or nurse.

Travel Advice

When your pregnancy is straightforward, there is no evidence that flying is harmful to you or your baby or that it causes; miscarriage, early labour or your waters to break.

Any travel land or flight where you are sat for 5 hours or more increases the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), you should follow the exercise guide below and you may want to use compression stockings or flight socks.

If flying take in to account you may still have sickness or need to go to the toilet regularly so choose an aisle seat close to the toilet, drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine or alcohol) and you may want to use flight socks. Fasten the seatbelt under your belly as tightly as you can manage.

Airlines have rules on flying while pregnant; you may require a medical certificate and/or other document, check with the airline before booking, to see if you are okay to fly.

It is important you discuss any health issues or pregnancy complications with your doctor before you fly.