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Wandsworth Little Feet

Keeping active prior to and during pregnancy helps to:

  • Strengthen the back, knees, and hips in preparation for labour and delivery.

  • Help prevent back pain.

  • Improve circulation and decrease swelling of the ankles during pregnancy.

  • Help prevent muscle cramping in the legs.

  • Prevent excessive gain of body fat.

  • Improve your balance and coordination.

  • Help you cope with stress.

  • Give you more stamina for giving birth and for parenting your baby.

  • Improve digestion and reduce constipation.

  • Help prevent pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

  • Make you feel better and have more energy.

  • Help you recover more quickly after your baby is born.

  • Always speak to your doctor about starting any exercise program, especially if you are already pregnant.

When carrying out exercise whilst pregnant, make sure you:

  • Drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after physical activity.

  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather.

  • Limit or avoid activities that require jumping, jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.

  • Avoid high impact and contact sports where there is risk of injury, (i.e. scuba diving, downhill skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, parachute jumping and hang gliding).

  • Swimming is a good form of exercise in pregnancy, and some leisure centres offer ‘aquanatal’ swimming classes (link to backache). The water temperature of the pool should not be more than about 32 degrees Celsius.

  • If you go to exercise classes make sure your teacher knows you are pregnant, and how many weeks pregnant you are.

  • If you have had longstanding illnesses or any complications in pregnancy you will need medical supervision during exercise – discuss this with your doctor.

  • Remember – Exercise to stay fit, not to lose weight.

For further advice and specific exercises visit the NHS Choices website .

For more information about physical activity services provided by Wandsworth public health please email:

Alternatively, if you would like information about physical activity opportunities in the Wandsworth area please click here.

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