Te kori tinana i a koe e hapū ana Being active during pregnancy

It is important to stay active during your pregnancy. Being active and healthy helps both you and your pēpi. It also helps to prepare your body for the birth.

Before you start any activity

Talk to your midwife or doctor before you start any activity. They will make sure that any exercise you do will not harm you or your pēpi.

Being active for 30 minutes each day can:

  • help you avoid gaining too much weight
  • strengthen your heart and lungs
  • give you the extra energy and strength needed for the birth.

Choose activities that match your fitness levels

If you have never exercised before, talk to your midwife or doctor first and look for gentle activities that you could do.

You could go for a fast walk, swim, aqua jog, or do any activity that is comfortable for you, and leaves you with enough breath to talk as you exercise.


Wear a supportive bra, loose clothing and shoes that support your feet.

Food and drink

Take breaks for a drink, food and a rest if you need to. Be careful in hot weather — stay inside or do not exercise at all. It is probably best to exercise at a moderate or mild level and there are some exercises that are best avoided.

Diet and exercise — Te Toka Tumai Auckland (external link)

Pelvic floor muscles

Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel. They often become weaker during pregnancy and childbirth. Some people wet their pants when they sneeze, cough or exercise because of this. 

There are exercises you can do to strengthen these muscles, and help prevent wetting your pants.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises

You can do these exercises lying down, sitting or standing. With practice they can be done anywhere and at any time, even while you are watching TV or feeding your pēpi.

  1. Squeeze and draw in your back passage as if you are stopping a fart.
  2. Squeeze and tighten your vagina like you are holding a tampon, and your bladder as if you are stopping yourself weeing.
  3. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds. At first you may only be able to hold the squeeze for 1 to 2 seconds until your muscles get stronger. Later, try to count to 10.
  4. Relax and then repeat about 5 to 10 times.
  5. Keep breathing normally while you do these exercises. Make sure that you do not pull in your stomach or squeeze your bottom when you squeeze – you will be using the wrong muscles if you do this.

Try to do this set of exercises 4 to 6 times a day. 

When to avoid pelvic floor muscle exercises

Avoid doing these exercises while you are actually having a wee. They may stop you emptying your bladder completely, which can lead to an infection. Sitting on the toilet can be a good reminder to do your exercises though. Just make sure that you do them after you have finished weeing.