Pre / Post Natal Exercise

The aim of exercise during pregnancy is to MAINTAIN rather than achieve peak fitness.

During the first trimester it is not advised that you start any new forms of exercise, but gentle walking is ok. One to One Pre Natal Pilates sessions with a fully qualified fitness professional are recommended at the stage. Avoid class environments until the 2nd trimester (or 13/14+ weeks to be on the safe side).

You can continue any previously regularly carried out forms of exercise, at the same intensity level, during the first trimester.

Guidelines recommend that your heart rate should not exceed 141bpm during exercise but this is just a guideline. If you are used to exercise then use RPE (rate of perceived exertion) instead. You should be able to carry out a conversation during exercise, otherwise you are working out at too high an intensity level. It is good practice to wear a heart rate monitor during aerobic exercise and take regular checks of heart rate, respiration, temperature and hydration. 

Contact sports (that you are been regularly playing) should be fine until the 2nd trimester as during the 1st trimester the baby is very well protected within the pelvic ring. Obviously it goes without saying that you should exercise caution whenever in a physical situation.

If you have never exercised before get the all clear from your GP. To be absolutely sure, leave commencing exercise until 13 weeks plus.

New forms of exercise can be commenced during the 2nd trimester only.

Always allow time for an extended and gradual warm up and cool down. This should  be for an increased duration of similar regimes carried out prior to pregnancy.

Find out more detailed information on exercise during pregnancy by clicking on the relevant icon below:

10 Reasons To Exercise During Pregnancy

  1. Helps decrease fatigue, even in the first trimester. This is also true of insomnia.
  2. Can help women have a shorter labour. This is particularly true if you use movement in labor by changing positions.
  3. Has been shown to help women lose pregnancy weight faster.
  4. Helps with endurance during pregnancy and labour. We know labour is a marathon – so train for it!
  5. Decreases aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
  6. Can help reduce likelihood of tearing or severe trauma from episiotomy.
  7. Can reduce the number of cesareans that are necessary.
  8. It’s fun and feels great!
  9. Leads to a faster postpartum recovery. Add breastfeeding to kick start the weight loss of postpartum.
  10. It’s a habit that once started will lead to a lifetime of good fitness.


First Trimester

0 to 13 weeks/1 to 3 months

Second Trimester

14 to 26 weeks/ 4 to 6 months

Third Trimester

27 to 40 weeks/ 7 to 9 months

When To Stop

When to cease exercising during pregnancy

Post Natal

Post natal exercise