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Keeping active during pregnancy isn’t just about keeping your body healthy – it could actually make your labour easier and shorter*. Just pick your starting fitness level from our guide below, find your exercise plan and you can be fit in time for the birth. Do remember to have a chat with your GP or midwife before starting an exercise plan when pregnant

Workout newbie

Allergic to the word exercise? Don’t fret. During the first trimester, you’re doing well if you manage not to fall asleep mid-afternoon, let alone think about joining the gym. But when the initial tiredness of pregnancy settles down, there are safe ways to get fit and active that’ll give you more energy as your bump gets bigger – and could make giving birth easier and shorter* – and that’s got to be worth a try.

Your fitness plan

A brisk walk is the cheapest and easiest way to start exercising. Give yourself some motivation to do it – maybe your destination is a friend’s house for a girlie gossip. Just keep your pace brisk without becoming breathless – you and your growing baby need all the oxygen you can get. Or head to your local pool – even the gentlest of swims provides great all-round exercise without too much effort on your part.

Former fittie

OK, so your gym membership might have expired and your trainers may be dusty, but this is the perfect time to rediscover why exercise made you feel good. Women who exercise tend to be less stressed and sleep better*. Some activity while you’re pregnant could even help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape and fitness levels more quickly after birth*.

Your fitness plan

Many mums say that exercising in water is very soothing as it supports your bump. Find out if your nearest leisure centre runs any classes in the pool for mums-to-be. Or why not try yoga? Specialist classes are popular during pregnancy because they improve posture, which helps relieve back pain, and increase flexibility.

Gym bunny

So you probably won’t be on the Power Plates at the moment, but you don’t have to suffer exercise withdrawal just because you’re pregnant. Keeping fit (safely) during pregnancy could help you regain your fitness levels quicker after giving birth*, so keep up the good work – just make a few adjustments.

Your fitness plan

You’ll need to replace high-impact activities with gentler ones, but the boost you’ll get from staying active will still be there. Of course walking and swimming are always options, just take it a bit more slowly now rather than powering along and don’t walk to the point of breathlessness. You’ll need to avoid exercises that involve lying on your tummy or your back after your fourth month of pregnancy, but Pilates is a great way to help maintain abdominal strength and protect the pelvic floor muscles, as many exercises are performed on your hands and knees.

*Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Exercise in pregnancy, 2006


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