Pre & Post-Natal Exercise Guidelines

Exercise Guidelines

Many women in the childbearing year wish to commence or continue with their exercise programs during and post pregnancy to maintain their health and quality of life. The traditional medical advice has been for exercising women to reduce their habitual levels of exertion in pregnancy and for non-exercising women to refrain from initiating strenuous exercise programs. This advice was primarily based on concerns that exercise could affect early and late pregnancy outcomes. However, recent investigations focusing on both aerobic and strength conditioning exercise regimens in healthy pregnant or postnatal women indicate that moderate exercise does not increase adverse pregnancy outcomes or quantity or composition of breast milk.

While an increasing demand for appropriate health and fitness services for pre and post-natal women provides an opportunity for many exercise professionals, it is imperative that pre and post-natal women are cared for individually, as there can be considerable variation between individuals and pregnancies.

To provide clarification for AUSactive Registered Exercise Professionals who provide services for pre and/or post-natal women, AUSactive has produced the following information for guidance:

What’s in the Guideline?

  • Professional Skill and Knowledge
  • Pre-Exercise Screening and Referral
  • Exercise Programming
  • Pre-Natal Guidelines
  • Recommendations for Post-Natal clients
  • Group Classes (Pre & Post-Natal)
  • Nutrition, Hydration and Environmental Considerations


AUSactive would like to thank members of the expert reference group, Dianne Edmonds, Dr Denise Furness and Lisa Westlake for their contribution to the development of this guideline.



Davies G., Wolfe L., Mottola M., MacKinnon C., Arsenault MY., Bartellas E., …Trudeau F. (2003). Exercise in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 25(6), 516-529. 

Norton, K & Norton, L. (2011). Pre-Exercise Screening, Guide to the Australian adult pre-exercise screening system. 

South African Sports Medicine Association. (2012). Position Statement on Exercise in Pregnancy. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 24(2), 69-71. 

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, (2006). Exercise in Pregnancy (RCOG Statement 4).

SMA statement the benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy. Sport Medicine Australia. (2002). Journal Of Science and Medicine In Sport / Sports Medicine Australia, 5(1), 11-19. 

Sports Medicine Australia (2005). Exercise and wellbeing after pregnancy (Fact Sheet).

Sports Medicine Australia (2009). The benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy Statement.

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