10 myth busting facts about exercising in pregnancy. By Octavia Hamilton, Founder & Physio.

Woman lifting weights

Exercise in pregnancy.

Common Myths: Followed by the TRUTH!


1: You need to be cleared to start exercising by a doctor. You can, and ideally should, exercise from conception right through to birth, even taking up new sports if you wish to. So, you can join this platform or any class from the day you find out you are pregnant.

2: Exercising can cause miscarriage. Evidence shows physical activity in the first trimester did not increase the odds of miscarriage or congenital anomalies. Importantly, there is also evidence suggesting that not engaging in physical activity from the first trimester increased the odds of pregnancy complications (ie, gestational diabetes mellitus, pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, excessive gestational weight gain and severity of depressive symptoms). Therefore exercising has been shown to have better outcomes for the mother and the baby. Lifting, running, even some high intensity are all safe modes of exercise and beneficial. Unless you have been specifically advised otherwise. Also listen to you body too.

3. If you have pelvic girdle pain you won’t be able to exercise. There is so much you can do to help improve PGP and often changing load, breathing better to engage your core, and tweaking your position can be great starting points to easing your pain.

4. Don’t lie on your back. There is some evidence to suggest that staying on your back for prolonged periods in the later stages of pregnancy can impact the babies blood flow. Often you would be symptomatic before this would happen. If you want to lie on your back to do some stretches, a bridge or two then do so but be mindful of how you feel and change position every now and then.

5: I mustn't get out of breath? Yup, you do not need to be able to hold a conversation anymore!! 150 minutes (3x 50 min sessions a week) of moderate to intense exercise is fine. The upper echelons of intensity have not been clearly defined as such but when looking at elite athletes it wasn’t until 90% max exertion that the baby started showing some distress so, as I can’t imagine many of you will be beasting yourselves to this point, exercise freely within what feel good for you. However, if you are going through IVF or struggling to conceive it is thought that keeping to moderate rather than intensive is advisable.

6. Gently gently! Mix it up ladies. You do not need to be sticking to low level or low impact exercises. You should be doing a variety of resistance, aerobic and mobility and or stretching exercises.

7: Pelvic floor until you die. NOT A MYTH! I am afraid so. There is no getting out of this one. If you are not sure what to do now is the time to see a pelvic health specialist, or watch our videos explaining exactly how to do them.

8. Stick to what you know. Nope. This is not true. If you suddenly feel the urge to take up Pilates, join a HITT class or the gym (links through to classes on platform) then there is no reason why you shouldn’t. The key is having guidance from a professional trained in perinatal that can advise you on form and technique

9. No planking! Again, if your form is good and you have no adverse side-effects such as a diastasis or pelvic girdle pain then there is no reason why you can’t do a plank. The key is picking an exercise that you can do well within your capacity and strength. Your body will constantly be changing through pregnancy so you might find in the later months you need to adapt to an easier version.

10. FACT: All women, unless they have been told otherwise should be taking part in exercise.

There is evidence to show exercise can benefit those with gestational diabetes, obesity and those who were previously inactive. Unless you have been specifically advised by a doctor, we encourage you to move your body.


We hope you have found this helpful. For more reading please see the link to the paper



or just join in with any of our videos that are all safe and suitable to support you through your journey of pregnancy.

This is a link to the many exercises classes we have on offer at XENA.


By Octavia