A new study led by Ontario’s Western University shows exercise during pregnancy has many benefits, including combating high blood pressure, excessive weight gain, and oversized babies.

Francesca Ambrocichukis a physiotherapist and certified Pilates instructor. She sees many pre-natal clients adapting to their changing bodies.  

“An exercise program can help a woman maintain and even build physical strength, core strength, cardiovascular endurance, body awareness to help her manage the changes and demands that pregnancy places on her body,” says Ambrocichuk.

Ambrocichuk suggests pre-natal Pilates for expectant moms.   

“It addresses the major muscles of the core which help to support the pregnancy and help to support labour and delivery. It also addresses posture and balance which creates a really comprehensive exercise program for mom,” says Ambrocichuk.

Jackie Kellestineis a certified personal trainer with a passion for pre and post-natal fitness.

“All the three main components of fitness, your aerobic, your weight training, and your flexibility, you should still be getting all three of those,” says Kellestine.

Kellestine says indoor cycling, running, light weight work and basic yoga are all good workout choices, but it's important to make modifications and avoid exercises that put you at risk of falling.   

“So skating, downhill skiing, probably not the best, something that could easily give you an abdominal trauma. Laying on your back for a long period of time is not the best either, contact sports,” says Kellestine.

“It's recommended at about four months gestation that a woman start to change any supine or back lying exercises that she's doing to a safer pregnancy modification like sitting on a stability ball,” says Ambrocichuk.

Both women stress the importance of talking to your health care provider, especially if you're considering a new exercise routine while pregnant.

“It's also important to let them know what you're doing throughout your pregnancy so that way they can really give you the comprehensive care that your pregnancy needs,” says Ambrocichuk.

There is no universal cut off to when you should stop exercising during pregnancy.

“If you're still comfortable and feeling up to it, you could be working out until you give birth,” says Kellestine

Ambrocichuksays the bottom line is that women should trust their intuition.

“A woman should feel strong and comfortable in her body during pregnancy. Pain, or mechanical dysfunction is not normal or to be expected during pregnancy and it's something that should be addressed,” says Ambrocichuk.

Pregnancy hormones can make joints quite supple, so deep stretching should be avoided. More moderate range stretching will help avoid overstretching or adverse forces through the connective tissue around the joints.