Physical activity and exercise (including pelvic / Kegel exercises) after delivery

Adapted from the Perinatal Society of Singapore's Guidelines published in 2020

1. Physical activity and exercise are beneficial during pregnancy and after pregnancy. These include:

a) decrease in weight gain during pregnancy

b) decrease in risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia

c) improve moods

d) improve sleep

e) improve fitness

2. Physical activity and exercise are safe for pregnant women and their fetuses in the absence of contraindications. Some of these contraindications would include:

a) low-lying placenta with history of recent bleeding

b) severe diseases of the heart or lungs that cause severe breathlessness

3. Pregnant women with no contraindications should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Such activities could include:

a) brisk walking

b) swimming

c) stationary cycling

d) low impact aerobics

e) Yoga

f) Pilates

4. Avoid activities like contact sports, activities with a high risk of falling, scuba diving, sky diving, hot yoga or hot Pilates.

5. Pregnant women with certain medical conditions should consult their health care provider early before commencing exercise.

6. Pregnant women should take safety precautions while exercising. These include:

a) avoid physical activity in excessive heat

b) avoid activities which involved physical contact or danger of falling

c) maintain adequate nutrition and hydration - drink water before, during and after exercise

7. Pregnant women with the following warning signs should stop exercising and seek immediate medical attention:

a) persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest

b) severe chest pain

c) regular and painful uterine contractions

d) vaginal bleeding

e) persistent loss of fluid from the vagina

f) persistent dizziness or fainting spells that does not resolve on rest

8. Women should resume physical activity and exercise gradually after delivery.

Useful infographics for references