A Physiotherapists Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post Partum

A Physiotherapists Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post Partum

Pre Pregnancy

Exercise has always been a huge part of my life. Whether it was dance when I was younger, team sports as a teenager or running and strength training in my adult life, it has shaped me and enabled me to turn it into a career. I can appreciate that exercise is not everyone’s happy place, but when your body goes through something so transformative I think it’s a great way to keep your body strong throughout pregnancy and to prepare you for labour and postpartum.

I was pregnant with my first child in 2021 and then with my second in 2023. The changes that your body goes through during pregnancy is truly eye opening and as a mother of two, I am so proud and thankful of what my body has been through. It is one of the hardest things I’ve done, and while I didn’t love feeling like a beached whale for about 25 weeks each time, it is an experience I will always cherish.



My pregnancies felt quite similar, but one of the key differences between the two was the motivation to exercise. During my first pregnancy, I got hit hard with a constant nausea that made exercising the last thing on my mind. The fatigue of pregnancy felt like I was walking around with clothes made of lead, and it wasn’t until midway through my second trimester that I could keep up a consistent exercise routine.

This involved strength training, walking, swimming (do yourself a favour and find somewhere you can float whilst pregnant!) and Pilates online which was all very low impact and allowed me to still exercise even with the fatigue and feeling unwell. I found midway through the third trimester I dropped off with a consistent exercise routine and was only exercising when I felt the energy to.

During my second pregnancy I was quite unwell in the early stages, but found that exercising helped those symptoms subside. In general, I also felt a lot more comfortable exercising as the anxieties that come with being pregnant for the first time weren’t as pronounced. During both my pregnancies I experienced quite a bit of anxiety around being pregnant but the second time around it felt a lot easier to navigate.


Pelvic Girdle Pain

One thing that was new for me during my second pregnancy was experiencing Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). For those that don’t know what PGP is or haven’t experienced it, PGP is pain felt during pregnancy either in your lower back or at the front of your pelvis. During pregnancy, the ligaments surrounding the pelvis relax to allow room for the baby to grow, which can result in pain in the pelvic area as the joints around the pelvis become more mobile.

For me, it was at the front of my pelvis and felt as though I was about to be split in two. My experience with PGP was unpleasant to say the least. I found the pain to be really inconsistent, and never felt like it really related to doing one thing, so no matter what I tried I couldn’t consistently bring it on or make it go away.

The support of a pelvic girdle belt helped me feel more ‘put together’ and allowed me to mentally continue with my strength training and working on my feet. Even though I felt sore, I did continue with my strength training which kept the pain to a manageable level.

A Physiotherapists Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post PartumA Physiotherapists Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post Partum



After giving birth to my first child, I was rattled. Rattled that I didn’t know what I was doing and overwhelmed with the constant anxiety of keeping a beautifully small human alive that I don’t remember properly getting back to a regular routine until he was around six months old. It was a low priority for me and I really lost my self identity in those first six months of motherhood. Once the anxiety curbed and I recognised that one of the reasons I wasn’t feeling like myself was because I wasn’t exercising, I found everything to be alot easier to handle. I look back now and know that I should have exercised sooner, but at that time it was something that I just couldn’t add on the ever growing to do list and for what I needed – and that was okay.

After having our second, I was so much more excited to get back into a regular exercise routine. As strange as it sounds, I had really missed getting my heart rate up and was craving it after my second pregnancy. When I was heavily pregnant, I couldn’t get my heart rate up like I wanted to and I genuinely missed that sweaty feeling you get post an exercise session. Our youngest (at the time of writing this) is four and half months old and I have been strength training since he was around six weeks old. I have been listening to my body during, but also after an exercise session and ensuring I do what feels right for me.

With the help and guidance of Laura Hill a women’s health physiotherapist (a non-negotiable in my books) and Lucy Bittendorfer – one of my Exercise Physiologist colleagues, who is trained in working with women pre and postpartum, I have seen a huge change in my mental wellbeing. Sure, there are days where just the thought of carving out the time in my day to exercise is a challenge, but I know that making it a priority and giving myself grace to prioritise myself (occasionally) over the kids, husband and work is a good thing.


What is the key message I want you to get out of reading my (A Physiotherapists) Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post Partum? The physiotherapist in me wants to spruik how important and essential exercise is for pregnancy and labour. But, in all honesty, it’s never easy to get going when your feet are swollen, you’re being karate kicked from the inside and can barely pry yourself off the couch. What I do know from experience, is that just starting is half the battle, and your body, mind and your sweet little baby will thank you for it.

So, my advice as both a mother AND a physiotherapist, is to listen to your body and exercise in a way that you feel comfortable.  When you’re waddling around in your second or third trimester you might not feel like attending the spin class that you normally would, but doing something that you enjoy is far better than nothing at all. Your body will feel a thousand times better for moving, but more importantly your mental health will too, which is particularly important postpartum. The small steps to get you there are what counts, so use this little read to remind yourself to start somewhere and with something that makes you happy!

Still to come on the blog a Q & A with a specialised women’s physiotherapist @physiohilly with everything you need to know about womens physio during pregnancy and post partum! Keep an eye on our socials for its release on our blog.


A Physiotherapists Experience of Staying Active Pre & Post Partum

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