Is Exercise In Pregnancy Safe? Read Our Guest Post From The Active Pregnancy Foundation
We know many women have questions about being active during pregnancy, what activities they can and can’t do when expecting a baby, and where to turn to for guidance. The Active Pregnancy Foundation helps support women to stay active throughout pregnancy and beyond, by providing expertise & advice, changing culture & challenging policy.
Make sure you read out guest post by Sally Kettle & Dr Marlize de Vivo from the Active Pregnancy Foundation on staying active when you’re expecting a baby.
Pregnancy Exercise And Safety by Sally Kettle & Dr Marlize de Vivo, Active Pregnancy Foundation
We, at The Active Pregnancy Foundation, know many women are concerned about being active during pregnancy and fear that it may potentially harm their baby or put their pregnancy at risk. We also know that many women are confused about what they can and can’t do, and where to turn to for guidance.
So, we’ve made it our mission to empower women with this information allowing them to enjoy and benefit from being active throughout their childbearing years. We do this by providing evidence-based resources, collaborating with topic experts and key organisations, and educating and upskilling healthcare and fitness professionals.
It’s a huge job, but we’re up for it and we hope this blog gives you the confidence to find out more, ask questions, and be active in a way that works for you.
A Frequently Asked Question – Is Pregnancy Exercise Safe?
Let’s start with the most frequently asked question, is pregnancy exercise safe?
The short answer is yes! For a healthy woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy, it safe and beneficial to be active. However there’s often a misconception around what it means to be active. For some women this may be navigating a professional sporting career, for others it involves structured exercise classes, but for most women it can be as accessible as dancing in your kitchen or taking the dog for a walk.
In fact, the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officers recommend that women accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity throughout the week and incorporate muscle strengthening activities on two days of the week.
In doing so they can experience several physical and mental health benefits, including a decreased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, delivery complications and postnatal depression, and fewer newborn complications.
The First Step In Starting Your Active Pregnancy
But how do you know if it is safe for you personally and what exactly is meant by an uncomplicated pregnancy?
The majority of women can continue to engage in physical activities throughout their pregnancy and beyond, but some may have conditions where moderate to vigorous intensity activities are not recommended.
For these women, activities may be restricted, or they may continue with modifications, monitoring, or under supervision of a qualified exercise professional such as a physiotherapist or clinical exercise specialist.
So, the first step in starting your journey is to complete the Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy (GAQ-P). This self-screening tool has been designed to help identify the small number of women who need to consult with a healthcare professional before they begin or continue to be physically active, and to help the majority of healthy pregnant women overcome any concerns they might have about getting or staying active.
Find Your Active During Pregnancy – Choosing An Activity
When it comes to choosing an activity, you might have already found something that you love doing. This is great but remember that some activities may start to feel different and may need to be adapted as your pregnancy progresses.
Historically women have been told not to start anything new in pregnancy, however, this is not the case. If you are new to any activity, start gradually and build up your physical activity levels over time, avoiding activities that put you at a greater risk of falling or direct trauma - don’t bump the bump!
A golden rule to remember throughout this journey is to keep going if it feels good but to stop and seek advice when it doesn’t or if you notice anything unusual. Keep cool, comfortable and hydrated throughout your endeavours – best to avoid being active for longer than an hour especially in hot and humid conditions.
Pregnancy is not the time to test your limits but it’s a really good time to maintain your fitness, form new healthy habits, and prepare yourself for the challenges of motherhood.
Check out our activity-based resources packed with advice and top tips to support you on your active journey through pregnancy and beyond:
Find Your Active Resources
Finally, Be Kind to Yourself
We do know that there are societal beliefs built on misconceptions during pregnancy, such as putting your feet up and eating for two.
However times and evidence has moved on significantly and we now know that the benefits far outweigh any theoretical concerns.
Remember to be kind to yourself throughout this journey; every pregnancy is different and there will be days where being active can feel challenging.
On those days, focus on doing the things that make you feel good. A relaxing bath, a nap, or meeting up with friends could be just what you need!
Find Out More About The Active Pregnancy Foundation
You can find out more about the Active Pregnancy Foundation on our website and social media channels. Do share the ups and downs of your journey, we’re there for all of it!
Active Pregnancy Foundation website: www.activepregnancyfoundation.org
Active Pregnancy Foundation Instagram: @ActivePregnancyFoundation
More About Sally Kettle From The Active Pregnancy Foundation
Before co-founding the charity, Sally was an adventurer for 15 years, as well as a professional speaker. It was a career which was kickstarted by rowing across the Atlantic twice, once with her mother. Together they earned a Guinness World Record. Sally also went on to become a Personal Trainer, and was selected to work with the athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games. After a long and difficult IVF journey she became pregnant with a daughter, and realised how little guidance there was to support her physical and mental health. It’s her passion to change this for other women that has provided the drive to keep The APF going.
More About Dr Marlize de Vivo From The Active Pregnancy Foundation
Dr Marlize De Vivo is a qualified Biokineticist (clinical exercise specialist), Sports Rehabilitator and Trainer (BASRaT registered), and professional member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). She has worked in a variety of health and sport settings as part of multi-professional teams and in various roles during her career. Marlize, was also a member of the Expert Working Group (EWG) for the development of the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) physical activity guidelines. And more recently, she was appointed to the CMO’s Physical Activity Guidelines Expert Committee for Communications as Specialist Committee Member. She hopes that her work will leave a lasting impact, with many more women benefitting from an active lifestyle throughout their childbearing years.
Activity Pregnancy Foundation Disclaimer
You are responsible for your own health and wellbeing and it is up to you to ensure that you are well enough to participate in physical activities. We are not in a position to express an opinion that you are able to participate safely in any activity. You must obtain professional or specialist advice from your medical team (e.g. midwife, GP, physiotherapist) if you have any concerns on this matter.
PLEASE NOTE - Where referring to 'women' and 'mothers', this should be taken to include people who do not identify as female but who are pregnant.
Similarly, where the term 'parents' is used, this should be taken to include anyone who has main responsibility for caring for a baby.