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Exercise during pregnancy

It is widely acknowledged that being fit and active through your pregnancy has a positive effect and can help you adapt to your changing body. It is not about losing weight but maintaining your fitness during your pregnancy and the program that you set for yourself largely depends on your pre-pregnancy fitness. If you were a gym bunny before you became pregnant you may be able to continue with your program making the necessary modifications. If you are new to exercise, the key is to start gently and build up your fitness levels slowly. Regardless of your starting point you should always consult your doctor or midwife about your exercise routine.

There are many advantages to exercising in pregnancy.

  • Increase your heart and lung fitness,
  • Reduce stress and helps induce a positive attitude
  • Can improve your quality of sleep
  • Relieve backache
  • Reduce constipation
  • Prepare your body for birth
  • Improve your posture
  • Help to control excess weight gain and can help to get you back into shape more quickly after birth (lets face it, we all worry about this!)

    When to consult a health professional before exercising

    There are certain situations when it is advised that women should limit or cease exercising during pregnancy. If you think that there may be a reason such as those below which might affect you, talk to your healthcare provider if you:

  • have experienced bleeding during your pregnancy
  • have anaemia
  • are having a multiple pregnancy
  • have placenta praevia
  • have a history of recurrent miscarriage
  • have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • have experienced early contractions

    Our favourite choices for exercise

    Walking is a great way to include activity in your daily life and is the easiest and cheapest form of exercise going. If it is an option, choose to walk instead of take the car or arrange to make it a bit more sociable by walking with a friend.

    Swimming is a comfortable way to exercise as the water will support your increased weight. A few lengths of your local pool will suffice or you may wish to opt for special aquanatal classes which are run by qualified instructors.

    Yoga increases flexibility and strength, improves circulation and breathing, raises energy levels, achieves deep relaxation, improves sleep, prevents/relieves skeletal pain, helps common pregnancy complaints and added to which encourages focus on the pregnancy and deepens the awareness of the baby. All round, a thoroughly enjoyable way to exercise in our book!

    Other choices include cycling, Pilates or specially designed antenatal exercise classes. Pregnant women are advised against partaking in contact sports for the obvious risk of injury that they pose. Any activity that jars the body can also pose a risk and should be avoided. As pregnancy progresses, your centre of gravity can affect your balance and so may make certain exercises harder and indeed riskier to participate in. Whatever exercise program you involve yourself in, the following tips should be remembered at all times, and above all,

    General tips

  • Listen to your body at all times, exercise at your own pace and stop at any point if you feel uncomfortable
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Be careful not to overheat and avoid strenuous exercise in excessive heat conditions
  • If you are doing any exercise classes, always inform the instructor that you are pregnant so that they can advise you where necessary during the class
  • Remember to look after yourself, enjoy your exercise and smile whilst your doing it!!

    Related Products:

    Pregnancy and Fitness by Cherry Baker
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    Pilates for Mums - DVD
    Yoga with Nerissa Pregnancy & Childbirth - DVD
    "Maxafe" Pezzi Birth & Exercise Ball
    Swimlite Aqua Mum
    Maternity Tankini

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