Children 0–2 years

Exercise and pregnancy

pregnant woman swimmingWe are all encouraged to exercise daily for good health but is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?


If your pregnancy is uncomplicated then daily, regular exercise is safe and may benefit your health in the following ways:

  • It helps to relieve aches and pains
  • Reduces constipation
  • Strengthens your joints and muscles
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Helps you to sleep better

Overall it can make you feel more confident about the way you look, helps you to prepare for labour and delivery and then helps you postnataly to return to your pre-baby body.


The first three months is the most risky time of pregnancy so stop exercising if you suffer from complications such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back or pelvic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Pre-rupture of membranes
  • Persistent bleeding

Also avoid becoming overheated as although your body does adapt by increasing sweat losses and breathing more rapidly this can put unnecessary stress on the growing foetus.

Exercises to avoid

Changes to the skeleton in pregnancy alter it’s stability. The increased size of breast and uterine tissue and baby weight combine to increase the curvature of the lower back, shifting the centre of gravity forward and increasing strain on the lower back which may cause pain. Hormones also make joints more mobile so avoid high risk sports such as contact sports, skiing, scuba diving and lifting heavy weights. Also be wary of exercises performed on the back (sits ups and some yoga poses) as these can limit blood supply to the baby.

Safe exercise

Once your doctor has cleared you to exercise, try walking 30-60 mins per day or aquacise, swimming, dancing and some yoga exercises.

If you would like to learn more about the extra nutrients your body might need when you are exercising then contact us today.

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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