Exercise & Pregnancy

Traditionally pregnant women have been discouraged from exercise, today however, the benefits of exercise throughout pregnancy are well established. In the absence of medical reasons, adopting a physically active lifestyle is both safe and healthy, with no identifiable increase in complications to the mother or baby. Yet, typically we find that there is almost always a decline in physical activity during pregnancy and a high proportion of pregnant women follow neither physical activity nor exercise guidelines.

What are these guidelines?

The most recent guidelines which we use for exercise during pregnancy were released in 2019 in Canada

All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy

Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful reductions in pregnancy complications

Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week, however being active every day is encouraged 

Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic exercises and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits. Adding yoga and/or gentle stretching may also be beneficial

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (PFMT) or Kegel exercises may be performed daily to reduce the odds of urinary incontinence. Instruction on proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefit

Pregnant women who experience light-headed- ness, nausea or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the supine position


So yes! Exercise in pregnancy is not only useful but it is ESSENTIAL.

There are some reasons which may prevent you from exercising in pregnancy and these can be discussed with your midwife, obstetrician or primary healthcare provider.


Exercise should not necessarily be broken up into trimesters, It’s less about what you do and more about how you do it. Someone in their first trimester can be feeling fantastic whereas someone in their first trimester can be feeling rotten, it’s important to feel good in what you are doing


Have a chat to your Osteopath about how you can start incorporating exercise into your prenatal regime. Remember most exercise is ok to do during pregnancy- what matters is how it’s done.


Written by Dr Melissa Arnts (Osteopath)




-Davies G, Artal R. It's time to treat exercise in pregnancy as therapy. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(2):81.


- Owe KM, Nystad W, Skjaerven R, Stigum H, Bo K. Exercise during pregnancy and the gestational age distribution: a cohort study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(6):1067-74.

-Mottola MF, Davenport MH, Ruchat SM, Davies GA, Poitras V, Gray C, et al. 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2018;40(11):1528-37.

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