Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Motherood. Is your body ready?

When falling pregnant, a whole new world opens that expectant mums need to navigate and a very common question among pregnant and postpartum mums is can they exercise and what should they do? With more and more women choosing to stay active during pregnancy and beyond, it is recommended that anyone in their pre and post-natal fitness journey do so under the advisement of a pre and post-natal expert. Pregnancy and motherhood is a great motivator to stay fit and healthy, and there are new guidelines on how much and what type of training a pregnant woman should be doing. However it’s important for every new mum and mum-to-be to remember that their exercise regime will need adjusting to cater for their changing body.

Calum Wilson, specialist in pre and post-natal training and co-founder of BUMP shares his expertise for training before and during motherhood and ensuring your body is ready for pregnancy, birth and beyond through exercise. 

Planning for pregnancy 

The best time to start planning and implementing your pregnancy health and exercise program is immediately after you have decided to try to become pregnant. Having a strong, fit and healthy body will not only prepare you for the strength and stamina required during pregnancy, but it will also increase your chances of conception and in theory make for an easier pregnancy, labour and most importantly birth!  

Exercising during pregnancy  

The type and intensity of exercise you should be doing will vary throughout each trimester and I always recommend consulting with your GP before you start. According to the latest Australian Government guidelines exercise should include both aerobic AND muscle strengthening. These could include brisk walking, stationary cycling, swimming, dancing and resistance activities. The Australian Government also recommends completing 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week or ideally a combination of both.   

At BUMP one of our golden rules is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”  

There are a variety of exercises that aren’t recommended during pregnancy. The marker for these isn’t the comfort or conversely any pain you may feel but more-so to protect you and your developing foetus. Considerations required when training whilst pregnant include but aren’t exclusive to, reducing the risk of falling, protecting your pelvic floor, minimising separation through the linea alba, protecting your lower back and being aware of overheating. 

Training under the guidance of qualified pre & post-natal instructors is highly recommended. Exercising whilst pregnant assists in preparing your body for the intensity of labour, can reduce back pain, strengthen lower abdominals, and improve pelvic floor function – thus decreasing the chance of incontinence, improves circulation, decrease the chances of post-partum depression and importantly it will also assist in your ability to cope with the physically demanding challenges that motherhood brings with it.  

Getting back to exercise

Returning to exercise after birth can often be a daunting task for new mums. A combination of lack of sleep, lack of energy plus the prospect of leaving the baby can make new mums anxious. It can also feel hard to know where to start, in a new body that often feels like it’s not your own. 

At BUMP, our advice is to consult a women’s health physio before returning to exercise. The GP led 6-week check-up will rarely be sufficient to give the green light to returning to exercise.  Seeing a physio, will give you a better understanding of exactly what is going on within your body. You will leave your appointment knowing the condition of your pelvic floor health, understand your abdominal separation and have the confidence to restart your fitness journey.   

It is important to listen to your body and avoid rushing back to the type of exercise you were performing before you fell pregnant. Find a place to train that is understanding of what you and your body have been through, has qualified instructors on hand to guide you through this rehab period safely and can provide a safe space for your children whilst you spend a small amount of time focussing on yourself.

If you have any questions about exercising throughout pregnancy and beyond please feel free to contact