What kind of exercise is safe in pregnancy?

Fitness expert Amanda Hargreaves gives us her pregnancy exercise dos and don'ts


We know exercise in pregnancy is good for you, but can you take it too far? What should you avoid? We asked fitness expert Amanda Hargreaves, creator of the prenatal and postnatal fitness DVD Pregercise, to share her pregnancy fitness dos and don’t…


Is it safe to go to the gym in pregnancy?

Yes, you can still use the machines at the gym. Anything that works your legs is generally very good, like a leg extension or cross trainer. Squats are a great exercise too and you can just do them with your body weight. Very good for the bottom and legs! Women who regularly exercise will be in much better tune with their bodies than a complete beginner so if you usually go to the gym, you’ll know what your body is happy for you to do. If not, just pay close attention to how you’re feeling and avoid anything high-energy or high-impact.

Is it safe to do yoga when pregnant?

Yoga is great for mums-to-be for helping encourage relaxation. Pregnancy can come with its fair share of concerns so it’s great to concentrate on breathing exercises and taking some time for yourself. It also helps with flexibility and both yoga and Pilates are great for toning up your muscles without you having to sweat it out if you don’t like to!

Is it safe to swim when pregnant?

Swimming is great exercise because the water supports your bump and you have the water as resistance against your limbs. This helps you tone up, build endurance and gives you a gentle aerobic workout that you can control by how fast or slow you swim.

Is it safe to go horse riding in pregnancy?

I’m afraid this one comes under high impact, so you should avoid it, especially as a fall from something as high as a horse could be very dangerous.

Is it safe to run when pregnant?

If you normally go running and you like it, then by all means get on the treadmill. I would advise you decrease the intensity to your comfort level, though. If you’ve never run, pregnancy’s not the time to start and you’re better off walking, as it’s great exercise. You can always start running post-baby if you really want to! Try our weekly walking pregnancy workout.

Is it safe to weight lift in pregnancy?

This is perfectly fine but don’t overstrain your body. You want to help strengthen your muscles so weights can help with toning. If you’re a complete beginner, you can use a resistance band that just makes your musles work slightly harder than normal to strengthen them.

Is it safe to cycle when pregnant?

You can cycle. But as you get further into pregnancy, cycling can become a bit awkward with a bigger bump. If you’re cycling in the gym though, that’s fine because you can use the longer, recumbent bikes. You sit further back, so you get the length and can keep peddling further into pregnancy. They’re especially good when you notice your balance is a bit off as your centre of gravity changes.

Is it safe to use a trampoline in pregnancy?

No, absolutely not. Avoid that at all costs because it comes very much under high impact.

Is it safe to ski when pregnant?

No, with a high likelihood of a bump or fall, I definitely wouldn’t recommend skiing, no matter how good you are! Find out other sports you should avoid.


Amanda has also given us a step-by-step guide to her top exercise for new mums – perfect for when you want to get back into shape post-baby.


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