Pregnancy: Step-by-step antenatal exercises in picturesAlamy

"Deciding to start an exercise routine when you are pregnant is one of the best decisions you can make," says fitness expert Jane Wake.

"Not only can it relieve you of many common pregnancy ailments, it can also help you to have an easier labour and quicker recovery post birth - plus your baby will benefit too. Your aim is to build up to 30 - 60 minutes of moderate activity every day - whether that's going for a brisk walk or doing the exercise routine below."

You can do the exercises which form this guide (see below) as a complete workout, or break them up into easy, five minute sections. Remember to always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine during or following pregnancy.

If you didn't exercise before you were pregnant, start off with 10 minutes a day, then gradually build up to 30 minutes or more.


Getting started:

1. Wear comfortable clothing and a good supportive bra.

2. Eat a small meal two hours before exercising or a snack 30 minutes before.

3. Drink water before, during or after.

4. Use good posture at all times. Stand, sit or kneel with your spine in a tall position - this should be where you have a small curve in your back, shoulders drawn back and down, and eyes looking straight ahead. Breathe naturally throughout your exercises and as you breathe out, focus on drawing up through your pelvic floor and pulling your tummy in - think of it as giving your baby a hug!

5. If you feel pain or discomfort, stop immediately and reassess what you are doing. If you continue to feel pain, stop exercising and speak to your doctor.

Start with the warm-up at the beginning of the picture gallery below, and then follow each exercise in succession. Each section can also be done on its own, but if you are doing this, always warm up by walking or doing the warm-up routine first.

Thanks to Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure for this exercise routine from Jane.

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