A NEW report has shown that 70 per cent of pregnant women are failing to achieve the recommended 30-minutes of exercise five days a week.

But joining a gym can be daunting prospect for expectant mums who’ve never exercised before.

Health experts, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, often recommend yoga as a way to help ease mums-to-be into exercise and prepare them for the birth.

Local yoga instructor Gill Taylor, based in Highcliffe near Christchurch, says yoga is so beneficial for pregnant women.

“I taught and practiced yoga throughout my two pregnancies until a few weeks before I gave birth and then I concentrated just on the breathing side of things.

“Yoga becomes a way of life because you get the benefit of exercise, stretching and the stillness from learning different breathing techniques. The social aspect is helpful too as new mums often want to meet others.”

Yoga not only improves strength and flexibility but, the breathing and relaxation techniques can also help to alleviate stress and lower blood pressure.

Learning to control your breathing can also be invaluable during labour to relax and manage pain.

Whilst attending a dedicated pregnancy yoga class is a great introduction to yoga and will help ensure correct practise, there is nothing to stop you from getting started at home.

FittaMamma (see fittamamma.com) is a useful free resource with information about why yoga is beneficial with easy to follow instructions for poses that are especially suitable for pregnant women.

Alexandra McCabe, spokeswoman for Fittamamma said: “Even women who are unused to exercise will benefit from practising yoga on a regular basis and if you are already physically active it’s worth including yoga in your existing routine to help prepare your body for birth and post natal recovery.”

For more information as well as guidelines about safe exercise during pregnancy, workouts, recipes and prenatal nutrition advice visit fittamamma.com