Pregnancy, Exercise & Physiotherapy

Benefits (When done Correctly!)

  • Reduced Lower Back Pain
  • Reduced Leg Cramps and Leg Swellin
  • Reduced Constipation
  • Increased Strength, Fittness, Health & Ability to Sleep
  • Physiotherapists are experts in teaching pelvic floor, general fittness, core stabilising, relaxation exercises


 Do’s and Don’ts


  • Consult your Doctor, Obsetrician, Midwife for check ups ensuring you can exercise safely
  • Consult your Physiotherapist to get the best exercises for your needs
  • Try water based exercise (Hydrotherapy/ Aquatherapy)
  • Ensure you are having a healthy diet and sleep patterns
  • Address any other medical problems you may have (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure etc)
  • Watch your heart rate with a monitor (ask GP or Physio what your maximum should be)
  • Wear a supportive bra, loose fitting, breathable clothing so you don’t overheat
  • Beware your produces a hormone (relaxin) that relaxes your ligaments making joints less stable which is a common cause of back, hip and pelvic pain
  • Brace your abdominal muscles when lifting, learn to isolate your pelvic floor and core stabilising muscles
  • Maintain correct posture when sitting, lifting, doing exercise or vigorous activity
  • Eat carbohydrates prior to exercise and protein after exercise
  • Drink fluid prior to, during and after exercise (no caffeine)
  • Pelvic Floor exercises – these should start as soon as you know you are pregnant
  • Keep an eye on the gap between your abdominal muscles (ask healthcare provider to check)
  • Avoid activities that cause pain or involve holding your breath
  • Rest after exercise to allow your body to recuperate and drink to rehydrate
  • Seek advice from trained professionals
  • Stop exercising immediately if you feel dizzy, faint, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, pain, numbness, significant fatigue, vaginal bleeding, contractions, leaking of amniotic fluid, reduced movements of baby

Do Not

  • Overheat
  • Use a solarium, spa, sauna or hot swimming pools
  • Exercise in the heat of the day
  • Exercise on your back (Pilates, Yoga etc), especially from 16 weeks onward
  • Exercise if you are unwell (cold, flu, pain etc)

Ideal Exercise for Pregnancy

  • Walking (try to build up to a healthy level)
  • Low Impact Aerobics
  • Water Aerobics / Hydrotherapy
  • Pregnancy Exercise Classes
  • See your Physiotherapist for an exercise program and functional capacity evaluation
  • Cycling (watch posture)
  • Swimming (watch heat, avoid breaststroke & backstroke)
  • Light Weight Training – best way to build / maintain strength (ask Physio)

Exercise to Avoid

  • Heavy Weights
  • Bouncing, high impact exercise (star jumps, pump class)
  • Contact Sports
  • Sports putting pressure onthe abdomen
  • Breast stroke when swimming
  • Excessive twisting or turning
  • Asymmetrical weight bearing (put all or most of your weight on one leg)
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
  • Excessive hip abduction (out to side) while kneeling on hands and knees
  • Sudden changes in intensity (interval training)
  • Pushing your joint to the end of their range of motion (don’t over stretch)

Things to Buy

  • Physiotherapists stock a wide variety of items that can help with your pregnancy, birth and recovery
  1. TENS machine to help with pregnancy pains, reducing pain during birth and after birth
  2. Pillows for a comfortable nights sleep (inclusing specialised pregnancy pillows and supports)
  3. Tubigrip for the abdomen after birth to help stabilise the abdominal tissue while it contracts and repairs.  This is especially helpful post cessarian (c-section)
  4. Cold Packs, Hot Packs, Massage Implements
  5. Lower Back Braces and Supports
  6. Relaxation