Pregnancy Exercise: What’s Safe?

July 7, 2014
regular exercise program, regular pregnancy exercise, pregnant woman exercise myths, listen to your body

It can be very tempting, when pregnant, to give up your regular exercise program and just eat Tim Tams on the couch for nine months. You’re often extremely tired, uncomfortable and just plain cranky – who wants to constantly haul bump (and sometimes, a rapidly expanding arse) to the gym?

Sadly, health experts say constant couch surfing and gluttony while pregnant can cause more damage than good. What’s more, exercise during pregnancy offers you countless physical, mental and emotional benefits.

Leading Sunshine Coast personal trainer and Ironman competitor Cindy Sugden, who specialises in instructing new mums, says while it’s not advisable to start any new activities when pregnant – now is not the time to run your first marathon, sister – keeping moving is key. And Ms Sugden, a mum of three herself who has recently trained 12 pregnant clients, says there are countless pregnant woman exercise myths.

“The first myth I encounter all the time is that you can’t build up a sweat,” she says. “And, secondly, that you have to get a heart monitor.

“Exercise is safe when pregnant as long as you listen to your body. If it hurts, stop, it’s that simple. If you have been lifting weights or running prior to pregnancy then continue. It varies with your expanding belly also – obviously, performing burpees becomes a little more difficult with a big belly.”

The trainer regularly advises clients to continue exercising all the way through their pregnancies. As we all know, once you stop a regular exercise routine, it’s hard to get going again!

“Don’t take breaks, it is very important to continue your regular routine, or you lose consistency,” Ms Sugden says. “It is very hard to lift your fitness, especially as your pregnancy progresses. So, my top tip is just keep moving!

“Exercise is so good for you when pregnant, for many of the same reasons as the general population: exercise maintains bone density, lean muscle and all-important  cardio-base fitness. All of this will assist with your birth and the recovery period and in combating any possible postnatal trauma/depression. In addition, exercising when pregnant makes you feel good.”

So, embrace those happy exercise endorphins, pregnant ladies – but be sure to consult your regular GP too before embarking on any training program.


Top benefits of regular pregnancy exercise:

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger back muscles, aiding back pain/strain as your belly grows
  • Improved posture and circulation
  • Stress relief and improved sleep
  • Good preparation for the physical demands of labour and postnatal recovery
  • A faster return to pre-pregnancy fitness and healthy weight
  • Increased ability to cope with the physical demands of motherhood

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By Nicole Carrington-Sima 

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