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Exercise and Pregnancy

Exercise and Pregnancy


Many myths surround the topic of exercise and pregnancy: from Victorian times where in the wealthy classes being pregnant called for an extended “lying-in” period to today’s social media bombardment of blogs and vlogs of super fit pregnant mums.

Now that you are pregnant there are some simple tips to follow so that you can exercise safely:

  • Pregnancy is deemed established at 12 weeks so avoid taking up a new or vigorous exercise until you pass this point.
  • In general, low impact activities such as walking, Pilates, yoga and water-based programmes are beneficial but ensure your instructor is aware that you are pregnant.
  • Listen to your body: if you feel tired that is not the time to push yourself, it’s time for rest.
  • Keep hydrated and wear sensible footwear.
  • If your exercise is limited by persistent pain or discomfort seek advice from us; specific exercise programmes are of benefit.


How much is safe? When should I return?

If you have had a normal birth you should be able to start back when your body feels ready. Guidelines recommend that you should not commence high impact exercise until at least 6 weeks post partum. However, a more realistic guideline is 12-16 weeks due to the impact your pregnancy has had on your pelvic floor muscles. Start with low impact exercise such as those discussed above, following your 6 week check-up.

As you start back do so slowly and gradually. For instance, it’s a good idea to allow 48 hours minimum between bouts of moderate level exercise. For example, you might already be heading out for a daily walk with your buggy but should you wish to power walk start with 2 to 3 times per week with adequate rest days. Remember when walking its’ not all about increasing distance; why not try to increase your speed by walking faster in a set time period interspersing it with longer walks. This targets all muscle groups and challenges your cardio-vascular fitness.

Pilates is an excellent way to regain your body shape and strength. At Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, we have small Pilates classes (5-6 participants led by a chartered physiotherapist), which is an ideal way to return to exercise. These classes are perfect post pregnancy to target your core muscle groups; regain strength, stability and balance. Contact us for further details.

Perhaps you have returned to high level sport and are starting to experience some symptoms; such as low back ache, dragging sensation in your pelvic region or pain over your symphysis pubis. At the clinic, we have a wealth of experience in managing these more complex issues. Restoring stability and correct recruitment of the pelvic floor muscles is crucial to enable a safe return to sports such as running, tennis and hockey. Aileen MaGuire is highly experienced in managing these cases: she combines her knowledge from musculoskeletal issues, sports physiotherapy and continence/ pelvic pain patients to ensure a full recovery.

Our aim with all patients is to provide them with the skills to aid their recovery and return safely to their preferred activity, none more so than busy Mums. While hands on treatment may be necessary at the start your home programme will be vital to aid your recovery.


To find out more about the services that Ballsbridge Physiotherapy can provide please contact us