During pregnancy you should not be giving up on all physical activities. Being active during the nine months of pregnancy is good for your body and mind. Physical activities range from a number of different workouts be it gymnastics, swimming or cycling. But not all activities are appropriate during pregnancy and a consultation with your gynecologist will give you a clear idea of what you should be doing and what you should be avoiding at all cost.

Cape Town, South Africa

Why is it recommended that women who are pregnant remain active?

“A little exercise during pregnancy helps women sleep better, strengthens muscles, soothes aches such as back pain (especially in the lower back) and helps control breathing, which is a very important aspect during childbirth” responds Dr. Anna Maria Baggiani, Head of the Unit for Female Infertility and Assisted Reproduction Fertility Center at Humanitas.

Why you should keep it moderate

“During pregnancy, the blood circulation and breathing methods change. It is advised not to do exercises in the prone position, especially after the third month. It is also not recommended to use weights and overexert yourself. Instead, during the eighth month, only relaxation, stretching and breathing exercises should be performed” adds the specialist.

Here are 6 types of physical activities that can be performed during pregnancy

These are generally guidelines and you should always consult with your gynecologist regarding the frequency, intensity and type of exercises you should be doing.


Relaxation and breathing exercises immediately point to yoga: “Yoga is an excellent exercise. There are positions designed specifically for women who are pregnant to relieve muscle tension and backache. It is also a practice that teaches some breathing techniques which can be useful during childbirth.”


“A walk on flat land or slightly uphill and free of uneven surfaces is always a good idea. Even a half-hour walk can be beneficial, keeping in mind each woman’s capacity. The cardio-circulatory tract, respiratory system and musculoskeletal system benefit greatly and the movement helps burn calories.”

Stretching exercises

“Elongation, stretching and low-intensity exercise such as lifting the legs and pelvis are a great exercise. Gymnastics is indicated for posture, lumbar pains and relaxation.”


An exercise similar to yoga and stretching exercise is pilates. Done with the right exercises, Pilates can help women tackle the sedentary lifestyle involved with pregnancy. “Some exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and abdomen area. Pilates can improve posture, strengthen the supporting muscles of the spine and stimulate the respiratory capacity of a mother who is expecting.”

Exercise bike

Pedaling on an exercise bike is a safer and more stable way to exercise without the risk of falling in comparison to riding a regular bicycle on the road. The most important thing to do is perform low-intensity exercises: “Cycling tones the legs but it is especially good for your circulation and helps reduce swelling of the legs and feet.”


According to specialists, swimming is the best activity: “Water is the ideal environment for physical activity during pregnancy because it reduces the force of gravity and women feel lighter. It also decreases the pressure on the joints of the belly. In the water, there are a wide range of exercises that you can do, from free swimming to water aerobics and water gymnastics,” concludes Dr. Baggiani.