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Monitoring your response to exercise

It is important to monitor your response to your exercise programme by taking your pulse-rate before, during and after exercise. Underworking will show no benefits and overworking may harm you and your baby. The correct pace will allow you to carry on a conversation while exercising (talk test).

Talk test is exactly what it says – the ability to talk during your workout – and can help you determine how hard you are working. If you can converse comfortably during exercise you are working out at an acceptable intensity and are probably in the low-to middle-range of the Perceived Rate of Exertion
Scale (PRE).

5 mins to read Nov 28, 2017

Monitoring perceived rate of exertion

The Perceived Rate of Exertion Scale (PRE) is based on a mother’s ability to rate (according to a number scale) her body’s response to exercise. Each number on the scale represents a description of the mother’s perceived rate of exercise intensity.

In a class of 10 pregnant women, the PRE scale may vary from 7–19 depending on age, fitness and stage of pregnancy.

No one knows your body better than you do – you are the best judge of how you are feeling. This form of exercise monitoring can be used in conjunction with pulse taking and the “talk test”.


How does exercise feel? Rating
Very, very light 6 / 7 / 8
 Very light 9 / 10
 Fairly light 11 / 12
 Somewhat hard  13 / 14
Hard 15 / 16
Very hard 17 / 18
Very, very hard 19 / 20

You should be working at a rate of 13–15 on the PRE scale, at a pace that you would describe as “moderately challenging”.

Resting pulse
Your resting pulse rate, which should be taken before rising in the morning, will increase slightly as your pregnancy advances, and may drop as you become fitter.