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Exercising During Pregnancy

I always thought I would be one of those super fit pregnant women (imagine @chontelduncan - maybe not as fit but you can see what my ego was imagining).

I imagined daily workouts, lot's of walks and anything that would keep me in good shape and help me "bounce back" after the birth. 

After three months of morning sickness and generally not moving from the bed, I quickly realised I wasn't going to have super fit pregnancy I imagined...and would happily settle for a healthy active pregnancy instead!

Once the morning sickness subsided and my energy levels returned, I eagerly attempted my first weights based workout.

I think I lasted about 12 minutes and then was unbelievably stiff for the following seven days. Yep, it took me that long to recover!

A similar thing happened when I went to my first pregnancy yoga class, but perhaps it wasn't quite as bad. 

So if you're pregnant and looking to keep active, maintain that important mind body connection and just stay feeling healthy during your pregnancy here are my tips and favourite pregnancy exercise.

*Notes: Some of the key things to focus on when you're pregnant is:

  • strengthening your pelvic floor - this will help during and after labour. Aim to practice daily or at least four times a week. This is also what all pregnant women say to me "do your pelvic floor exercises"!
  • build leg strength - because active labour positions require a lot of leg strength (think squats, crouching etc.), and it's possible you'll be doing these positions for hours
  • build stamina - labour is a marathon not a sprint 
  • learn some good breathing techniques - to help with those contractions and remain present and connected


Pregnancy Yoga

I am loving pregnancy yoga, all ego is taken out of your practice and I found it wonderful for connecting to your baby - it was actually during yoga that I first felt my baby move. 

Pregnancy yoga is much slower than normal yoga and focuses on maintaining mobility, rather than increasing flexibility. You'll focus on sequences and positions that open the hips, stretch out the back (a god send) , build leg strength, build pelvic floor control and learn some amazing breathing technique for relaxation and labour. 

It's also a great place to meet other pregnant women and talk all things pregnancy without boring non pregnant people. 

If I could go everyday I would (I don't because they don't have classes everyday)!

Pregnancy yoga is best for:

  • Maintaining mind body connection
  • Connecting with your baby
  • Practising birthing breathing
  • Building leg strength
  • Opening up hips
  • Relieving back pain
  • De-stressing and unwinding
  • Improving sleep
  • Learning active labour moves 

I go to Home of Yoga on a Saturday morning 10:30 - 12:30, they are pretty hippy but are super welcoming.

Partners can also come along for free or a gold coin donation which is a lovely gesture. You are also welcome to attend some of their other classes (mindfulness yoga & restorative yoga) and the teacher will give you modifications. 

Home of Yoga also runs a Family Nurturing Centre - so they have a lot of experience with pregnant women, lots of books you can borrow and also run a range of pregnancy and baby workshops/groups. 

If you can't make it to a class or only have 10 minutes to get in a stretch, I've saved a YouTube playlist to my YouTube channel of lots of short yoga videos.


Tracy Anderson's Pregnancy Project

As a long term lover of Tracy Anderson, I love that she has a pregnancy project DVD set. There are nine DVD's, one for every month your pregnant that you can do at home with just some hand weights and a mat. 

These workouts are still challenging but won't over fatigue your body. I really like her gentle fitness approach during pregnancy, she discusses not over exerting your body too much during pregnancy as it could divert much needed nutrition away from your baby to repairing muscles.

Tracy Anderson best for:

  • Maintaining mind body connection
  • Maintaining muscle tone
  • Keeping a perky butt
  • Building leg strength 

She also has two postpartum pregnancy DVD's for once you've been cleared to workout again - I'll definitely be giving these ago when I can. 


Pregnancy Pilates

Quite possibly the best thing you can do for your pelvic floor. My Pilates instructor friend assures me if you don't want to feel like your uterus is going to fall out when you sneeze, or wee yourself when you laugh, you need to go to Pilates for your pelvic floor exercises. 

I'm going to start going once a week, but I've also learnt some good exercises to do at yoga - which I try to practice a couple of times a week.

Pregnancy Pilates best for:

  • Strengthening pelvic floor
  • Maintaining mind body connection 
  • Maintaing muscle tone
  • Building leg strength
  • Hip and back alignment 

PFIWA run a number of pregnancy classes and also postnatal classes. They also have pregnancy Barre classes which is great for maintaining your muscle tone, building leg strength and stamina. 



Walking is great because it gives you chance to get out into nature, but it's also free (something that's important at this time with all the baby things that are being purchased). 

Walk for as long as your comfortable (I go for 5km - 7km), and at a pace where you can still maintain a conversation without becoming too breathless is best.

If you feel you can can walk up some hills or stairs - just go super slowly. This will really help build your stamina for labour!

Walking is best for:

  • Keeping your cardiovascular fitness
  • Building stamina 
  • Maintaining leg strength 
  • Getting out in nature
  • Unwinding

Lastly here are a few more tips to help you have a healthy, happy, active pregnancy

Top Tip:

  1. Listen to your body - if it feels wrong, painful or too much don't do it.
  2. Talking pace - workout to a pace where you can still maintain a conversation whatever exercise you are doing.
  3. Limit plyometric movements - towards the end of your second trimester and in your third trimester the hormone relaxin being released. This means jarring movements and even over stretching can leave you with long term ligament damage.
  4. Don't judge yourself or compare yourself - to what you used to be able to do or to other pregnant women.
  5. Make sure you eat enough nutrient rich foods - to support your workouts, recovery and continued growth of your little one.


As always get in touch with if you have any questions! x