“Why bother to exercise in pregnancy when you're going to get big anyway?”


Ali Rose, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s physio, answers a very important question for the Jennis Pregnancy app that she gets asked a lot…


“This is a question I hear time and time again in my clinic,” says Ali Rose, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s physiotherapist, “so I thought I’d answer it here for everyone thinking of putting off exercising until after their baby is born.


“It might seem like a good idea to put off starting or continuing any exercise regime until after you have had your baby, but there are big benefits for you now and in the future if you stay or get active throughout your pregnancy. Here are a handful of those...


“The right type of pregnancy exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of fatigue, constipation, varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles, so exercising can actually make your pregnancy more pleasurable

Pregnant women who exercise have been shown to experience less stress, anxiety and depression, and better sleep

“Pregnant women who exercise have also been shown to experience less stress, anxiety, depression and better sleep. For many of the patients I see, this is probably because exercise gives them some me time, it gives you a boost of endorphins and it gives you control over your body when lots of changes are taking place.


“Conversely, doing too little exercise during pregnancy can mean you put on too much weight, lose cardiovascular and muscular fitness, and increase your risk of certain pregnancy-related health conditions, such as gestational diabetes.


“Exercise is good for your little one, too. It’s been shown that babies of active, fit women may tolerate labour better than those of non-exercising women.

Babies of active, fit women may tolerate labour better than those of non-exercising women

“Researchers have also found that babies born to women who had exercised throughout their pregnancies – at 50% of their pre-pregnancy levels – were less stressed during labour than babies whose mums exercised pre-pregnancy but then stopped within the first trimester.


“It's not just during pregnancy that you see the benefits. When it comes to getting back to full strength and fitness post-pregnancy, it’s much easier if you have helped your body along by supporting the right muscles through exercise. 


“So, in answer to the question: should I bother to exercise when I’m going to get big anyway? The answer is a resounding, yes, you should! Spending that time doing something just for you has huge benefits physically, medically and psychologically, and I cannot recommend it enough."


Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Pregnancy exercise programme has been designed to help women stay active (or start getting active) through their pregnancies by only featuring exercises that support the way your body changes through your trimesters. Fancy giving Jennis Pregnancy a go?


Find out more about Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Pregnancy exercise programme, trimester by trimester


Sign up to Jessica Ennis-Hill’s Jennis Pregnancy app for iPhone and Android


Got any other questions for us? Then email editorial@jennisfitness.com


Join the Jennis Pregnancy app chat with Jess on Facebook

Get Jennis Pregnancy visual inspiration on Instagram




Ali’s sources

Lewis E. Australian Family Physician, 2014. Exercise in Pregnancy 


UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines 2019 


Evenson KR, et al. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 2014. Guidelines for Physical Activity During Pregnancy: Comparisons from Around the World


Artal R, O'Toole M. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2003. Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period

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