wewomen Newsletter
Paula Radcliffe on exercise for pregnancy and parenting

How to exercise through pregnancy and parenthood


Exercising in pregnancy
Exercising in pregnancy
Staying active through pregnancy helps prepare your body and your child for birth while maintaining a healthy lifestyle once your children arrive is the best way to fend off childhood obesity and get your pre-pregnancy figure back (or make it even better!)

How to exercise through pregnancy and parenthood

Pre-natal exercise
  • If you weren't active before now is not the time to start a crazy new routine - try pregnancy yoga or pre-natal yoga as a gentle introduction to exercise.
  • Stretching will help keep you supple which helps with the birth! Just don't push it too far and always warm up first. You're more prone to injury when pregnant.
  • Gentle, low-impact activities like swimming, walking and light jogging on the ellipitcal (cross-trainer) are great ways to maintain fitness levels. Keep your heart rate steady - you should be able to talk but not sing along to Beyoncé.
  • Ignore the heart rate monitors at the gym. You have way more blood in your system and your resting heart rate is much higher than normal too so it's not a good indicator.
  • Lifting free weights (if your used to it) and using gym machines (if you're not) while pregnant is a good idea to strengthen your body ahead of labour and maintain some tone. Just steer clear of anything that works your abs, overhead weights or anything that presses against your belly and only lift light weights.
  • Take it easy and don't do anything that could cause you to fall - snowboarding, ski-ing, cycling and horse riding are out.
Post-natal exercise
  • When baby arrives, post-natal yoga and new mum workouts will help you get back in shape but give yourself some time off after the birth - minimum six weeks if your had a caesarean.
  • Abdominal muscles take a little while to go back to where they belong. Your pelvic floor muscles will need repairing too so work on these before you try any sit-ups and crunches.
  • Going for gentle walks with the buggy is the best place to re-start your exercise regime.
  • Steer clear of swimming for six weeks after the birth - you might catch an infection.
  • Baby yoga classes are a great way to get your baby involved in exercise from an early age. Check your local gyms, sports centres and community centres for mother and baby activity classes too.
  • Play with your little one. Chasing your child about the house or the park, playing games and getting involved in their world burns a huge amount of calories. Don't under estimate how fit you can get by just engaging with your child.


Parenting Editor
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