Strenuous Exercise During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Mar 21, 2017

We all know how important physical fitness is to overall health. But for most pregnant females, cut back on workouts even if they have the energy and desire to get moving. No one wants to hurt their unborn child, so they tend to err on the side of caution. That’s the reason we deliver safe and fun exercise classes for you during pregnancy.

Is It Okay to Exercise at a High Level While Pregnant?

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you can carry on with your activity, but with modifications as necessary. You can keep your former level as long as you’re comfortable and your doctor approves it.

If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you start an exercise programme, you should inform your instructor that you’re pregnant.

If you experience dizziness, pain, vaginal bleeding, or excessive shortness of breath, stop immediately.

Do Strenuous Exercises Harm a Baby?

If there is one thing that most newly pregnants worry about exercising, it’s miscarriage. But according to Bruce K. Young MD, coauthor of Miscarriage, Medicine & Miracles (Bantam) and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine, “There is no real evidence that exercise is linked to miscarriage.”

Intense exercise will not harm your baby, but it’ll tire you more quickly than it did before pregnancy. During pregnancy, the amount of blood increases by about 50% and her heart has to work harder to pump all the blood throughout the body.

“That means the stress on your heart will be 50% greater for the same exercise that you were doing before pregnancy,” Dr Young added. You can still do hard exercises but not as intense as during pre-pregnancy.

What to Consider When Exercising during Pregnancy


Pregnant females have looser joints and an altered centre of gravity. As the pregnancy progresses, the sense of balance changes, increased risk of injuries such as sprained ankles and knees.


Dehydration can cause a preterm uterine contraction, which can potentially lead to preterm labour. To be safe, drink 8-9 glasses of water a day. If you’re on a workout, the amount of fluid needs to be adjusted.

Direct Trauma

For pregnant females, lifting heavy weights at a fast pace increases the risk of direct abdominal trauma, falling, or injury. Proper form is important, as well as some modifications in form and exercise to reduce the risk of trauma.

Reduced Blood Flow to the Uterus

Traditionally, there has been concern that strenuous exercise during pregnancy may divert critical oxygen flow to skeletal muscle rather than to the uterus and developing fetus. If you’re doing intense workouts, it’s important to monitor the growth of your baby regularly to ensure proper growth.

Abdominal Pressure

Intense exercises can cause intra-abdominal pressure to increase. The pressure can cause uterine contractions or rupture of the membranes around the uterus. It is best to reduce abdominal pressure by modifying or reducing the intensity of your exercise.

Can I Do Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is safe for pregnant females. Our Reformer Pilates Classes in Perth have been designed to be suitable. Incorporating Pilates helps strengthen your core muscles, which in turn can help prevent low back pain and improve mobility. It can increase your strength while keeping your body aligned.

Ensure you get clearance from your physiotherapist if you are planning to take Reformer Pilates or any other exercise programs for that matter. If you are usually physically active, you might as well consult your doctor to have your exercise program modified.

Once you get your physiotherapist’s approval, you will know the right kind of exercise you should do, or a Pilates Physio instructor can design a Reformer routine that is comfortable for you.