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Prenatal exercise can have endless benefits for both mother and baby – when done correctly. At six months pregnant, Niki Rein – the founder and creative director of Barrecore, London’s most leg-tremblingly arduous fitness studio – shares her definitive dos and don’ts of pregnancy workouts with Bazaar. Over to the pro…


Do light to moderate exercise every day

“A 30-minute brisk walk is enough, but try to also do body-weight strength exercises at least two or three times per week.”

Do listen to your body

“Each day is different and it’s imperative to your health and that of your growing baby that you take breaks more often, and only do what feels right for you.”

Do expect to maintain your fitness levels despite getting out of breath quicker

“Your body is working extra hard with extra weight and therefore maintaining strength if you are still exercising.”

Do work the posterior chain

“As you gain weight on the front of your body, focused exercises on the back, glutes and hamstrings are key for good posture, better energy and avoiding back pain – a common pregnancy ailment.”

Do pelvic floor exercises every day

“Your pelvic floor is constantly worked throughout your pregnancy and is stretched and often traumatised during labour. Make sure you are both fully releasing and fully lifting during your pelvic floor squeezes. A supple pelvic floor is just as important as a strong pelvic floor.”

Do core and stability-based body weight exercises such as barre, yoga and pilates…

“…and watch how quickly you bounce back post baby! These three types of exercises keep your core engaged which is more likely to make your labour easier and recovery faster. Plus, they all focus on pelvic floor engagement – bonus.”


Don’t do high-impact exercise after your first trimester

“The hormone relaxin is released during pregnancy which loosens joints and makes them less stable, so you are more likely to twist an ankle or lose your balance, causing other injuries when doing high-impact exercise.”

Don’t do contact or high-risk sports either

“Things like horse riding, football, boxing, mountain biking and scuba diving are all best avoided.”

Don’t overheat whilst exercising

“In the first trimester, your baby cannot regulate its body temperature, so it’s important that you stay cool and hydrated. It’s best not to overheat in the later stages of pregnancy too, despite the fact that you still may sweat.”

Don’t use heavy weights overhead in your third trimester

“At this stage, it just puts extra weight on your already stretched pelvic floor.”

Don’t expect to improve your fitness levels during pregnancy

“This is the time to maintain strength and fitness, not progress.”

Don’t think you are weak because you can’t do everything you did before

“Growing a human is hard work and your body is already working out every moment of the day, not just during your exercise class. Give yourself a break!”

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK