Working out while pregnant – what are the risks?

Pregnancy Workouts

This health feature for OK! magazines investigates the benefits of exercising while pregnant – and any risks to be aware of.

Earlier this month Coronation Street’s Brooke Vincent, who’s around six months pregnant, looked happy and healthy on the red carpet at the British Soap Awards. Having developed an interest in fitness while preparing for 2018’s Dancing On Ice, the actress recently returned to the gym to kick-start her ante-natal regime as she entered her second trimester of pregnancy.

She told fans: ‘Going to the gym while pregnant is definitely a personal preference and a decision I’m glad I’ve made.’ Brooke added: ‘I am not looking for visual results. I wanted to go back to start feeling good about myself and catching up on those endorphins I’ve been missing these past few weeks, yet most importantly wanted to be the healthiest I can be while carrying my baby.’

Her decision was approved by her midwife, who she says ‘gave me the all-clear to do light training before I went back, as sometimes even in your second trimester it isn’t always safe’.

Pregnant Hollyoaks star Nadine Mulkerrin shares Brooke’s views. She told OK!, when she announced her happy news last month, that she’s aiming to stay fit and strong to cope with the rigours of pregnancy. ‘I try to stay as active as possible fitness-wise and also have plenty of rest. I’ve been doing lots of walking and swimming, not only for the physical benefits but also for the mental ones. And I had a good dance at the British Soap Awards, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if my baby actually came out back-flipping!’

Gemma Atkinson, who’s due imminently, was still exercising into her third trimester but said: ‘I’ve been cleared by my doctor, midwife and Evil Steve [her trainer] to do these exercises, and before even considering exercise when pregnant you absolutely must get the go ahead from professionals.’

The Duchess of Sussex, Eva Longoria and Beyoncé also kept their fitness levels up with some gentle exercise while expecting, and Vogue Williams recently hit back at trolls who criticised her for hitting the gym as a mum-to-be, telling them: ‘I train a lot for anxiety, it makes me feel good and I like it.’

So is it really okay to keep exercising during pregnancy? OK! investigates…

TO EXERCISE OR NOT TO EXERCISE?

Dr Amin Gorgy, of The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy explains: ‘Evidence suggests moderate exercise is safe during pregnancy. Keeping fit and active while pregnant can help you cope better in labour and can help you get back in shape quicker post-birth, so it’s recommended you keep up your fitness routine as long as you are able to.’ However, he adds a note of caution: ‘It’s important to listen to your body and work within your comfort zone. Try to avoid lying on your back for long periods of time as the weight can restrict blood flow through one of the major blood vessels and can make you feel faint. It’s also recommended that you avoid any contact sports to reduce the risk of getting hit.’

WHAT EXERCISES ARE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

Dr Gorgy says that gentle exercise can help boost your mood and make you feel better: ‘As with menstrual cramps, light exercise like walking or swimming can get the endorphins flowing and can help to relieve pregnancy cramping. However, if you experience cramps as a result of exercise, you should… [cont.]