Physical activity advice during pregnancy

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Physical activity advice during pregnancy

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Publication date: 
24 May 2021
Last updated: 
8 June 2021
Publication type: 
Fact sheet
Intended audience: 
General public

Your healthy pregnancy

Physical activity during pregnancy is safe and is good for you and your baby. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes most days. It’s OK to break this into smaller sessions. Try to make your heart beat faster and your breathing quicker.

  • Do muscle strengthening activities, such as lunges or squats, on at least 2 days each week.
  • If you’re currently inactive, start slowly and increase over time.
  • Most people can continue their pre-pregnancy activities with some changes as pregnancy progresses.
  • Daily pelvic floor exercises help throughout pregnancy and reduce the risk of bladder incontinence after birth.

Everybody is unique! It’s about being healthy for life, not getting fit, fast.

Give these activities a go (or similar activities if you have physical limitations):

  • brisk walking
  • light resistance
  • pilates/yoga
  • swimming.

The benefits of physical activity during pregnancy

  • Prepares you for labour and recovery.
  • Reduces risk of complications such as gestational diabetes.
  • Increases energy levels and makes you feel stronger.
  • Helps with nausea, heartburn, constipation and lower back pain.
  • Lowers stress and helps you sleep better.

Give these activities a miss

Activities with limited oxygen like scuba diving – low oxygen can harm your unborn baby.

  • Excessive stretching – looser ligaments are more prone to injury.
  • High impact or contact sports like netball/football – risk of injury to abdomen.

Listen to your body

  • If you’re not sure about what activity is best for you, talk to your health professional.
  • If you’re feeling low, go for a walk and get some fresh air, or whatever activity makes you feel good.
  • If an activity is causing discomfort, stop or change the way you do it.
  • If you’re doing an exercise class, let the instructor know you’re pregnant.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water.
  • In your 2nd and 3rd trimester, avoid or modify activities that involve lying on your back for long periods of time. It can reduce blood flow to your baby and your heart.

To find out about activities and support near you, contact your local hospital, community group or council.

For more information about physical activity during pregnancy visit health.gov.au/campaigns/your-healthy-pregnancy

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