Exercise in Pregnancy (EIP)

The new year is often a time when people re-evaluate their fitness. However, what to do if you are also pregnant? It can be hard to know how to safely maintain fitness amongst all the changes of pregnancy! There are a small number of conditions where a mum might need to limit exercise in pregnancy so it is a good idea to check in with your doctor. Current guidelines advise 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise / week in minimum ten minute bouts. However, estimates say only 13% of pregnant mums achieve this.


The benefits of exercise in pregnancy are plentiful including improved experience of pregnancy, body image and confidence. A normal weight gain is promoted. Maintaining cardiovascular fitness assists stable blood pressure therefore EIP is linked to lower levels of pre-eclampsia – a potential emergency. Exercise in pregnancy helps control blood sugars and manage the risk of gestational diabetes – a common condition that increases lifelong risk of diabetes. Exercising in a group setting in a pregnancy specific yoga or pilates class increases mum’s social support. Often classes incorporate preparation for labour through breathing and relaxation practice.

Exercising Tips

Due to the pregnancy hormones, pregnant mums are more liable to soft tissue injuries. It’s a good idea to take care and avoid overstretching joints.  Stay cool by exercising in well ventilated environments and wearing loose breathable clothing. It’s essential to increase fluid intake due to increased blood circulating volume and kidney size. Be watchful for signs of dehydration like headaches, dizziness and concentrated yellow urine. If you notice any unusual symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, chest pain, dizziness or new onset of pain in the back, pelvic or abdominal regions be sure to stop exercising.

exercise tips

Setting Goals

The goal with fitness is to maintain rather than increase. Therefore, the safe level of exertion is a moderate intensity approximately 60% of maximum heart rate. This feels like exercising “somewhat hard” or “hard” but not “very hard”. The “talk test”- another easy way to determine moderate intensity involves holding a conversation comfortably whilst exercising.

Suitable Exercise

Suitable forms of EIP are walking, swimming, stationary cycling, yoga, pilates and aqua natal. Running, a high impact activity is a good option but only if you were running regularly prior to and during your first trimester. Two strength training sessions / week such as yoga and pilates are also advisable.

Women’s Health Physiotherapy

Chartered physiotherapists in women’s health are professionally trained to support women throughout their pregnancy and beyond. They can advise you on individualised care for lumbo-pelvic pain, urinary and bowel dysfunction as well as general wellness in pregnancy, and preparation for labour and delivery. 

PMC Physio Recommendation

At PMC Physio we recognise the importance of maintaining fitness during pregnancy, not just for physical health but also for emotional and mental well-being. Our dedicated team of women’s health physiotherapists is committed to providing expert advice, safe exercise programs, and continuous support tailored specifically to the needs of expectant mothers. Whether you’re looking to safely meet the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or seeking advice on how to manage common pregnancy-related conditions, we’re here to guide you. By embracing a balanced and informed approach to exercise in pregnancy, you can enhance your pregnancy experience, improve your body image, and prepare confidently for labour and delivery. Contact us to discover how we can assist you in achieving your fitness goals while ensuring the health and safety of both you and your baby.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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