If you are used to cardio exercise when you’re not pregnant, cardio while pregnant can be good for you and your baby. While you should not do cardio as a weight loss routine in pregnancy, it is good to help relieve aches and pains and keep your weight under control. You may even have more energy and feel good due to getting enough exercise. It can also help prepare you for labor. Read on to see how cardio can be helpful for pregnancy and a few cautions for safe exercise.

Important Notes Before You Exercise During Pregnancy

If before you were pregnant you didn’t spend days on end at the gym, you should probably start slowly and increase exercise as tolerated. Your body needs time to adjust to cardio while pregnant. Begin with low-impact exercise such as swimming or walking about 30 minutes a few times weekly. You can increase the amount as your body tolerates. If you have spent a lot of time working out, it is usually okay to continue your regular routine with the exception of things that will put your pregnancy at risk. You need to ask your doctor about exercise during pregnancy for safety. It is a good idea to forgo high-impact exercise and over time your body will tell you to slow down.

Avoid These Exercises

  • Exercises with risk of falling like water skiing, snow skiing, contact sports, and horseback riding.
  • Activities that require balance like step aerobics, roller skating, ice skating. (When your tummy gets bigger your center of gravity gets thrown off.)

Exercise Safety

If you decide to start a cardio exercise program during pregnancy, you need to remember some exercise safety rules:

  • Warmup
  • Stretch Before Exercise
  • Take Breaks During Exercise
  • Drink Plenty of Fluids
  • Cool Down Period
  • Stretch After Exercise

Most important is to read your body carefully. If you feel tired, don’t push yourself. Cool down and go back to your workout routine tomorrow. Always stop exercise immediately if you start to feel dizzy, have vaginal bleeding, or shortness of breath. With vaginal bleeding you need to seek emergency medical care.

Recommended Cardio Workout While Pregnant

1.    Swimming/ Water Exercise

Water is a great way to exercise during pregnancy. The effect of weightlessness can take the strain off your body. The isometric effect of the water helps you build strength, increase cardio rate, but with low-impact. Some even say that swimming during pregnancy helped relieve any swelling of the feet, legs and ankles. Use caution when walking on slippery pool decks, do not dive and be careful if you go in the deep end of the pool.

2.    Jogging

If you were a runner prior to pregnancy, you may be okay continuing throughout pregnancy. It may help to run shorter distances, stay on flat land or try using a treadmill at home. If you have never been much of a runner, start with walking and work up to jogging. If you become out of breath, slow down. Go easy because looser joints due to pregnancy hormones can be easily injured.

3.    Cardio Machines

Go to the gym when pregnant? It is okay to use cardio machines during pregnancy if you take things slowly. You can use the machines including stair climbers, step, rowers, and treadmills as long as you turn them down and keep then at a low incline. Make sure to warm up and stretch. If you are in your last trimester of pregnancy, you need to use caution and avoid risk of falls so might be a good idea to avoid these machines later on.

4.    Walking

Walking is absolutely a safe cardio while pregnant! This is a very easy cardio exercise during pregnancy and you can do it anywhere, even at work. Instead of sitting in the break room at work, take a walk around your building. Take up walking after dinner with your family to get outside and spend time together. Use a walk by yourself to clear your head and de-stress. There are plenty of ways to fit it in and it is really good for you. Use a good pair of walking shoes, but that is all you will need.

5.    Low-Impact Aerobics

Any type of aerobic exercise is a safe cardio while pregnant and can tone the body and the heart. There are classes for women who are pregnant that are safe and easy on the body.

6.    Dancing

Dancing can increase the heart rate and tone the body. You can easily do this at home with your favorite music. You can also join a pregnancy dance class. Just avoid any dance moves that can put you at risk for a fall or strain the lower abdomen.

More Exercises Recommended During Pregnancy

When you exercise during pregnancy, try to include other exercises that can help improve your overall flexibility and strength. This will help prepare your body for labor and delivery and help relieve some of the discomforts of pregnancy. Try these other exercises:

1.  Yoga

Yoga is a very low-impact exercise that is gently on the body. It can also raise the heart rate gently. There is very little impact to the loosened joints and it tends to be very relaxing. Be careful not to overstretch in some of the positions to avoid injury. Be careful with some poses that require extra balance.

2.  Stretching

You need to stretch before any vigorous exercise, but stretching is also a good form of exercise in itself. It can help loosen muscles, relax you and prevent muscle strains.

3.  Weight Training

If you already work out at the gym doing weight training, you can continue with your doctor’s okay during pregnancy. You may need to lower the amount of weight that you lift, but add on some more reps to make up for the less weight. Make sure you use good technique to avoid injury and strain.