The Importance of an Active Pregnancy


For many new mothers, the concern that engaging in exercise during pregnancy might pose a risk to the baby serves as a significant barrier to becoming or staying active. It’s important to note, however, that there is no supporting evidence indicating that regular exercise during pregnancy is harmful to either the mother or the baby (RANZCOG, 2022). Dispelling this fear is crucial in encouraging expectant mothers to embrace and maintain a healthy level of physical activity, acknowledging that exercise can be a beneficial component of a well-rounded pregnancy care plan.

Navigating exercise during pregnancy adds an extra layer to the emotional roller coaster that this new chapter inherently brings. The right type of exercise becomes a valuable ally, offering relief from pelvic girdle pain, aiding in preparation for the demands of labour, mitigating urinary incontinence, and contributing to overall mental well-being (Himan et al., 2015). The importance of choosing an appropriate and beneficial exercise routine during pregnancy cannot be overstated, as it not only addresses physical discomfort but also supports emotional and mental resilience during this journey!


When selecting an appropriate exercise routine during pregnancy, it is generally recommended to continue with the form of exercise that you were engaged in prior to becoming pregnant. There are no strict rules dictating a complete overhaul of your pre-pregnancy fitness activities. Whether you have a passion for strength training or enjoy reformer Pilates, there is no need to abandon these activities when you fall pregnant (ACOG, 2020).

A mix of both strength training and aerobic exercise is best to ensure you’re maintaining strength in your muscles and bones, while also ensuring your cardiovascular health is enhanced during and after pregnancy.

Determining appropriate exercises for pregnancy isn’t governed by a strict list of do’s and don’t’s. Instead, it comes down to consistently engaging in activities that you enjoy and finding exercise that is appropriate for your energy levels while implementing the following:

Understanding how to coordinate your core canister, which consists of your diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and low back muscles.

Mastering the art of proper breathing and synchronizing it with the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) during exercise is key. Breathing and pelvic floor exercises go hand-in-hand to effectively manage abdominal pressure, support you in engaging your abdominals without exertion and mitigate strain on the muscles and tissues that are utilised and elongated as your belly grows.

Understanding how to modify exercises as needed.

For instance, if you enjoy your weekly Pilates class, you may need to modify certain positions as your pregnancy progresses. Instead of lying flat on your back, consider choosing more upright or all-fours-based exercises. Using a wedge to elevate your upper body during exercises can also be a helpful alternative. If you observe any coning or doming during specific exercises, indicating excessive intra-abdominal pressure, consider adjusting the number of repetitions, sets, or the intensity. Or swap out the exercise for an alternative targeting similar muscle groups.

An exercise professional, such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, is trained to prescribe exercise for those with conditions such as pregnancy and will be able to show you appropriate exercises to do during your pregnancy. Find your local exercise professional here.

Implement pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training in your exercise.

While it may seem like the right move to start specific PFM exercises or kegels when pregnant or dealing with urinary leaking, it’s not always the case. If have already have pelvic floor tightness, you might make your leaking symptoms worse. Mastering proper breathing, managing intra-abdominal pressure, and engaging your core and pelvic floor make it easy to integrate PFM training into your exercise routine. You can experience urinary leaking with a weak or tight pelvic floor. For this reason, it is recommended to have an individualised assessment to look after your pelvic health long-term.


To help make informed decisions about what’s best for you, your baby and your pregnancy, talking to your trusted Women’s Health Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) can be your secret weapon. They’ll help you groove and move in the way that suits you best! It’s like having a dance partner for your pregnancy exercise journey – someone who’s got your back and knows all the right moves to keep you and your little one in the rhythm of health and happiness!

Find your local AEP here.


Written by Tanisha Hatchman, AEP, AES.

Tanisha is a Women’s Health Accredited Exercise Physiologist who specialises in pelvic health. Tanisha’s Exercise Physiology offers services face to face in Brisbane and online. Follow her Instagram @tanishas_exercisephysiology for more.