Why do so many pregnant women give up exercise? by Fittamamma


Why do so many pregnant women give up exercise?

Medical experts (including the NHS, NICE and RCOG) agree that all healthy pregnant women should aim for at least 30 minutes exercise every day for the sake of their health and the health of their baby.  There are so many good reasons to stay active!  Women who exercise during pregnancy are less prone to backache, varicose veins and tiredness; they tend to sleep better and suffer less from anxiety; they are better prepared for labour (which is probably the most physically demanding process any women will undertake) and are less likely to have a C-section. They are also more likely to maintain a healthy weight gain and recover more quickly after the birth.

But despite the evidence in favour of exercise, many active women give up their usual fitness regime, opting instead to ‘take it easy’. And women who were inactive before becoming pregnant do not recognise pregnancy as a motivator for a more active lifestyle.

Leading maternity fitnesswear brand FittaMamma commissioned a research project to find out why!

‘We’re passionate about encouraging women to enjoy the benefits of exercise during pregnancy,’ said Alexandra McCabe, co-founder of FittaMamma. Our belief in the importance of staying active was a key motivator in developing our supportive maternity fitnesswear.  We really wanted to understand why women give up exercise, despite all the evidence that suggests that staying fit is so beneficial.

We supported a year’s PhD research programme into exercise in pregnancy at the University of Portsmouth to explore the motivators and barriers to exercise.  We also wanted to find out just how wearing appropriate fitnesswear could make a real difference to pregnant women.’

The women taking part in the research were all either pregnant or less than a year postpartum. Their answers revealed some startling results around how real women exercise during pregnancy and just how many of them hung up their trainers and put their feet up.

  • 58% of the women went to the gym pre-pregnancy but 31% of them GAVE UP when they were pregnant
  • 55% of the participants were regular runners pre-pregnancy but a significant 35% of these women STOPPED running during pregnancy
  • 35% of women attended exercise classes such as spin, or body pump but this DROPPED to only 22% during pregnancy

The biggest reason for giving up exercise, cited by just over half of the respondents, was ‘lack of energy’.  But many of the women involved agreed that appropriate fitnesswear is a key issue.  They simply didn’t feel comfortable exercising in clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t provide support and didn’t meet their needs as their body changed.

  • 63% of respondents (including those who carried on exercising) said their bump felt unsupported
  • 37% of women gave up exercise because their bump got in the way
  • 31% were put off exercise because of ill-fitting fitnesswear and 47% stated that their fitnesswear didn’t meet their needs as their body changed.


‘It was really interesting for us to see just how much clothes influenced the decision to exercise,’ continued Alexandra.  ‘Women who would expect to support their boobs with a well-fitting bra are super-conscious of the need to support your body when you workout - and there are certain expectations around style as well as comfort.’

Holding the bump securely and avoiding discomfort during exercise removes one of the biggest barriers to staying active during pregnancy. Ensuring the baby bump is supported for exercise is every bit as important as wearing a bra to support your breasts. 

FittaMamma designed their product to truly meet the needs of pregnant women

A key aspect of the research at the University was a fully independent and scientific analysis of the bio-mechanical benefits of FittaMamma’s unique range of supportive maternity fitnesswear compared to ’standard’ maternity leggings and vests.

The FittaMamma Ultimate range underwent detailed analysis under test conditions at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, using the equipment set up to test and research sports bras.  The aim was to establish the difference between FittaMamma’s technically designed maternity fitnesswear and ‘standard’ maternity leggings and vests.

The tests and analysis of the FittaMamma fitnesswear revealed a massive 48% REDUCTION in bump movement compared to ‘standard’ fitnesswear.


 ‘We’re delighted’, said FittaMamma co-founder Alexandra McCabe.  ‘We designed the FittaMamma range to truly meet the needs of pregnant women as their body changes throughout pregnancy. Feedback from our customers has always been really positive but it’s great to have scientific proof that our clothes really do make a difference!’

We wanted to create a range that is both functional and stylish, providing support where it’s needed and giving women the confidence to exercise. 

Don’t miss out on the health benefits of staying active whilst you’re pregnant!  Use CODE NBC10 and save 10% on your first order of FittaMamma Maternity Activewear.

www.fittamamma.com  – supporting active Mammas-to-be

With almost 20% of respondents stating that conflicting advice is a further barrier to exercise it’s important that FittaMamma remains a trusted and comprehensive source of information about health and well-being in pregnancy and postpartum.  We provide supportive advice in conjunction with many qualified experts as well as offering the world’s ONLY tested supportive maternity fitnesswear.

*Survey size 100 pregnant and postpartum women


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