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Safe exercises for pregnancy

In partnership with Kristy Curtis

Keep fit safely during pregnancy

Young pregnant woman wearing a white t-shirt and meditating on a yoga mat in her loungeroom
Young pregnant woman wearing a white t-shirt and meditating on a yoga mat in her loungeroom

With pregnancy comes a lot of change. There are the obvious physical differences – the growing belly, for starters – and the less visible symptoms such as morning sickness, cravings and reflux.

On top of that, there’s the recommended lifestyle modifications to make, tweaks to your exercise routine included. 

“If you and your baby are healthy, doing some form of exercise most days is better than none,” says personal trainer and health and wellness coach Kristy Curtis. “There are, however, things to look out for.”

Modifications for pregnancy exercise

With any exercise done during pregnancy, Kristy recommends being mindful of the following:

  • Avoid situations whereby you can overheat – such as exercising in high outdoor or indoor temperatures, avoiding hot tubs and saunas.

  • Steer clear of contact sports such as martial arts, some ball sports or sports where you require good balance, like skiing or horse riding.

  • Don’t jump or do anything high impact, to avoid weakening the pelvic floor muscles – particularly in the later trimesters.

  • After the 16-week mark, when doing exercises that require you to lie on your back, make sure you lie on an incline, so the blood flow to the baby is not compromised.

  • Cut out abdominal exercises such as crunches and sit-ups as they place undue pressure on the linea alba (connective tissue in your abdomen), which can tear.

  • Resist overhead pulling movements like chin-ups and lat pull downs as they can tear the linea alba.

So what physical activity is OK? Short answer: loads! Consider this your go-to guide. 

Swimming and aquarobics

Aquarobics and swimming are considered generally safe in pregnancy – even for beginners.

“Aquarobics is beneficial into the third trimester when you start to feel heavy,” Kristy says. “The water supports your body weight so you can move about easily while working on your fitness.”

Related: The mental and physical health benefits of swimming

Blonde pregnant woman wearing a navy striped shirt at her laptop looking at pregnancy exercises


Walking – or waddling, depending on how far along you are – is a great way to keep moving, while keeping things low intensity. 

If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, start slow, and build up to a moderate pace – let your body be your guide. 


Pilates is good at incorporating stretching and flexibility into your workouts while gently building up muscle strength. And with mental benefits such as stress reduction, mood improvement, relaxation and a decrease in anxiety and depression symptoms – it’s an effective way to exercise your mind too. 

“If pregnant, seek out a special prenatal Pilates class,” recommends Kristy. “These will focus not only on strengthening the whole body but breathing and pelvic floor.”


Much like Pilates, yoga is equal parts beneficial for your mind and body. Yoga may also reduce lower back pain for some women, depending on the type of pregnancy aches you have. 

Yoga and Pilates classes specific to pregnancy may include pelvic floor exercises – designed to strengthen and tone the muscles supporting your pelvic floor, which can stop accidental leakage of urine during pregnancy or after your baby is born.

Again, Kristy suggests seeking out targeted prenatal classes, due to their focus on strengthening and toning the muscles supporting your pelvic floor. “Avoid any heated yoga classes during this time,” she adds. 


If you were a runner before getting pregnant, it’s generally fine to continue throughout your pregnancy.

“Jogging has a lot of benefits,” says Kristy. “It improves circulation, fitness and releasing those feel-good hormones.” 

And if you’re only just taking it up, start with sessions of 15 minutes, and build up to longer durations. 

Stationary cycling

Cycling – both outside, and on a stationary bike – boasts a host of benefits for pregnant women. “Stationary cycling is particularly good for your joints as your bodyweight is supported,” Kristy explains. “You can easily modify your intensity by dialling down the resistance.”

If your usual bike is feeling a little less comfortable than usual, adjust the handlebars up a little higher and stay in the saddle, Kristy adds.

nib Nurture

Expecting an addition to your family? nib has partnered with trusted Australian pregnancy experts, Nourish Baby, to create a guide that covers everything you need to know so you can enjoy a happy, healthy pregnancy and beyond. 

The nib Nurture program brings you a comprehensive 3-course bundle to help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to enjoy a healthy pregnancy, positive labour and birth, and feeding success.

The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner. If you experience any discomfort at all during or after any type of physical activity – stop exercising immediately and see your doctor.

Kristy Curtis wearing a black sports bra at the gym and smiling at the camera

In partnership with

Kristy Curtis

Kristy Curtis is one of Australia and Asia’s leading wellness experts. She discovered her passion for fitness at a young age and has since transformed that passion into a career, with a successful personal training business and as a TV presenter. Kristy strongly believes while there are some things in life you can’t control, you can take ownership and responsibility of your health by eating good food, thinking positively and keeping your body moving. Every night before bed, Kristy completes a sudoku puzzle.