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Topic: The safest exercise swaps for pregnant women who still want to get their sweat on

Jen Dugard wants mums-to-be that yes, they can and should keep up their exercise routines while pregnant. But knowing which exercises you can, and can’t do is key. Here, she shares her top modifications to make to your training to keep you and your bump safe.

Most of us know that staying active in the pregnancy and postpartum period is important but it can be extremely challenging to keep up with what you ‘should’ or shouldn’t do – especially if you are exercising alone, or taking part of a group fitness or HIIT-type class.

I am going to offer you some simple ‘swaps’ that you can make when you are training and offer some quality information around the signs, symptoms and feelings that it are helpful to be aware of when exercising at this time.

Taking care of your pelvic floor and abdominal wall both in pregnancy and postnatally is very important. We want to ensure that we are not adding too much pressure through the linea alba (where your six-pack muscles join in the middle) or downwards through your pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor

If you experience any leaking, heaviness, pressure, pain or discomfort your body is letting you know that the exercise you are doing is not right.

Abdominal Wall

If you are doing any exercise that creates doming or ballooning at your abdominals, then your body is letting you know that they exercise you are doing is not right for you currently.

The important thing to keep in mind about pelvic floor and abdominal symptoms is that they are often not that painful, which means if we are on a quest to achieve aesthetic or physical goals we may ignore them. Please don’t! I want you to be exercising the way you love, for many years to come.


Push-ups create pressure on both your pelvic floor and abdominal wall so swap push-ups on your toes to push-ups on your knees, instead.

If this is still too hard, move to raise your hands on a bench. If this version of the push-up is still no good, you can swap to a standing chest press using a Swiss or Pilates ball against a wall. A chest press will stop most of the pressure on your pelvic floor, and will provide an upright position where you can work harder through your chest and triceps.


Sit-ups are a go-to in many fitness classes but not at all good for pregnant mums and should be avoided by many postpartum mums, too – especially if they have abdominal separation or a weak pelvic floor. They will also NOT help flatten your tummy! Choose a bird-dog position on all fours instead, to help to recruit your inner-most abdominal muscles; which will both support and flatten (if that’s your desire).

Topic Discussed: The safest exercise swaps for pregnant women who still want to get their sweat on

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