Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Fitness

Exercise during pregnancy

20 March, 2020

While exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re pregnant, it’s important to stay active as regular exercise has a range of health benefits for both you and your baby. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) encourages pregnant women to do between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise each week. This includes a combination of aerobic and strength conditioning exercise.

Before you start any new exercise program, it’s best to check with your Healthcare professional to assess any medical risks.  

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

There are many benefits to exercising when you’re pregnant. These can include:

  • increase in fitness and energy levels
  • stress relief
  • faster recovery from labour
  • better sleep and insomnia management
  • decrease in back and pelvic pain
  • decrease in the risk of developing anxiety or depression
  • decrease in delivery complications

Regular exercise can also help to reduce the risk of developing the following pregnancy complications:

  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • pre-eclampsia

How much exercise is enough?

When you’re pregnant, you should try to keep active every day. RANZCOG encourages pregnant women to do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise each week. They also caution against exercising for more than 60 minutes at a time unless the intensity is relatively light. If you’ve previously been inactive or if you’re overweight, it’s important to limit your exercise duration to 15 to 20 minutes at the start of exercising and build up to 30 minutes sessions over time.   

What exercises should you be doing?

It’s important to do a combination of both aerobic and strength training exercises when you’re pregnant.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercise or “cardio” means “with oxygen”. It’s continuous exercise that causes your breathing and heart rate to increase and keeps your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy.

The following aerobic exercises are generally safe to do during pregnancy:

  • walking (aim for a brisk pace)
  • swimming
  • jogging (if you’re already jogging regularly)
  • stationary cycling

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening or anaerobic exercise involves short burst of energy and is usually higher in intensity. Anaerobic exercise is any activity that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen. A lot of energy releases in a small period of time, and your oxygen demand is greater than your oxygen supply.

RANZCOG recommends pregnant women perform strengthening exercises twice a week on non-consecutive days. These exercises should cover the main muscle groups in the body. Examples of strengthening exercises include using light weights, body weight or elasticised resistance-bands. When you’re pregnant, it’s important to avoid lifting with heavy weights, walking lunges, or straining your body.

You should aim for one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each strengthening exercise. These strength training exercises should be at a moderate intensity with slow, steady movements and correct breathing technique.

Exercises to avoid

You should avoid strenuous exercise during hot or humid weather and you should also avoid exercises that involve lying flat on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy.

 It’s important not to perform activities that include a risk of falling over or getting hit. These can include:   

  • contact sports such as kickboxing, judo, squash and rugby
  • horseriding, skiing, or gymnastics

 RANZCOG also recommend that you avoid heavy weight lighting or other activities that involve straining.

When to stop exercising

If you start feeling any of the following symptoms, it’s important to stop exercising straight away and see your doctor:

  • headache
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • chest pain or heart palpitations
  • unusual shortness of breath
  • ·vaginal bleeding
  • excessive fatigue
  • muscle weakness

Where to get more information

Health professionals

You can speak with your doctor, midwife or physiotherapist for more information about exercising during pregnancy.


  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline on 1800 882 436 – you can speak with a maternal child health nurse and the service is available 7am to midnight, 7 days a week
  • Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 – you can speak with a registered nurse and the service is available 24 hours a day.

Online resources


Suggested Articles

  • An image of nutrient-rich vegetarian Mexican bow

    Mexican in a bowl

    If you can’t go out for Mexican, make it at home! This nutrient-rich vegetarian Mexican bowl is a quick and easy dinner.
    • Nutrition
    19 May 2020
  • Private Hospital Benefits at Healthscope Group Hospitals

    Private Hospital Benefits at Healthscope Group Hospitals

    CBHS has agreements with over 500 private hospitals across Australia including the Healthscope Group of Hospitals (Healthscope).
    • Membership
    18 May 2020
  • 2003_COVID19_Blog-08

    Financial assistance to members who hold Extras cover

    Here is what we are doing to support our members from both a health and financial perspective through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • News
    • Membership
    6 May 2020
  • 2003_COVID19_Blog-08

    CBHS COVID-19 Health and Financial Assistance Program

    Here is what we are doing to support our members from both a health and financial perspective through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • News
    • Membership
    27 April 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F