What can I and can’t I do when I’m pregnant? “That’s the question I get asked the most, especially from first-time mums”, said founder of Sportee Mommee, Helen Curran. Being nervous about overdoing it is perfectly normal and understandable, but if you’re healthy and your doctor gives you the all clear, the best thing you can do for you and your baby is to stay healthy and that includes staying active. Your doctor is likely to encourage you to continue exercising and will reassure you that it is completely safe and offers lots of benefits. It’s a great way to relieve those pregnancy aches and pains too.

pregnancy cardio workout blog

To help you get started, we’ve got a low impact cardio workout, which includes four simple yet effective movements you can do safely during each trimester. “Cardio exercise is great for boosting those endorphins and helps you mentally and physically to train for birth,” Curran explains

Once you’ve got the go-ahead from your doctor, grab your comfy maternity leggings and follow the exercises below to get your feel-good endorphins going and heart rate up:

 

  • Squat with Knee Lifts

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, abdominals, triceps.

 

Stand with your feet wide apart with toes facing forwards. Press hands together and keep elbows high. Lower into a squat. As you rise up, lift your left leg and drive your left arm down to meet the knee. Return to centre and go into squat again. As you rise up, drive the right leg up and arm down to meet it. Repeat alternate sides for 30 seconds.

 

  • Low Impact Jumping Jacks

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, arms.

Step your right foot out, and at the same time bring your arms out to the sides to shoulder height. Step back to centre and at the same time bring arms together above your head. Repeat with left foot and continue alternating for 30 seconds.

 

  • Sumo Squats & Static Lunges

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abdominals.

Stand with your feet wide apart with toes facing forwards. Press hands together and keep elbows high. Lower into a squat and as you rise up, pivot body to the side and lunge down with three pulses. Return to centre, squat again and as you rise pivot to the other side. Continue repeating for 30 seconds.

 

  • Curtsy Lunges & Reach Downs

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, calves and abductors.

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lower your hips down into a squat and stand. Step back with your left leg and lower down into a lunge. Rise up and tap your left toes back toward the starting position. Then cross your left leg behind your right for a curtsy lunge. This is one rep. Return to the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds.

 

How often should I exercise while pregnant?

The amount you exercise can vary enormously from woman to woman, but no more than 30 minutes a day is advisable. Reduce the amount you exercise in hot conditions and never allow yourself to dehydrate or get completely out of breath.

If you’re unsure about the right amount of exercise for you, “Start with where you were pre-pregnancy and work down from that level. Pregnancy is not the right time to increase your activity, start anything completely new or push yourself harder than you did pre-pregnancy” Curran advises.

If you were active before pregnancy, it’s recommended you exercise three to five days a week. On the days you rest you can do some mobility stretches, yoga relaxation or a gentle walk, which will be as good for your mental health as much as physical health. “If you weren’t active before pregnancy, it’s best to take up your training very gradually at a low intensity and for five minutes only initially, then slowly build up each day as your strength improves. And remember, exercise doesn’t have to be down at the gym. Housework, energetic walking and gardening can burn just as many calories as a trip to the gym, so keep track of your daily steps and monitor your output and energy consumption.


What are the best cardio exercises I should do in pregnancy?

You can continue to do almost any cardio exercises you did before you were pregnant. That includes running, despite what the older generation may tell you.

“The main thing to remember with any cardio exercises during pregnancy is that you will have to modify certain movements, pace and intensity as your body changes,” Curran advises. If you didn’t do cardio before you were pregnant, stick to low impact exercising, like swimming or static cycling. This does the job of raising your heart rate, improving your blood circulation and strengthening your muscles, while minimising the stress on your body or the risk of injury”.

If you are a cross-fit junkie or a loyal gym weight lifter, most strength exercises are safe to continue while pregnant, as long as you’re cautious and can maintain control of the weight lifted. However, as your bump grows the strain on your spine increases as does relaxin, which loosens and lubricates the joints and ligaments around the pelvis. This means you are more prone to injury from overstretching. Take care not to deepen your stretches during pregnancy or extend your range of motion. Although pregnancy yoga is seen as safe, always be mindful of your core and pelvic floor and avoid backbends because they place extra strain on the connective tissue in your core. As your bump grows you will have to modify your movements and make sure your spine and pelvis are not being stressed.  Squats, lunges, deadlifts, hammer curls, shoulder presses and arm circles are all pregnancy favourites, focusing on the glutes, core, upper and middle back, shoulders, chest and biceps.  Resistance band training also makes a great pregnancy cardio workout.

 

I feel too tired to exercise. Is this normal?

Yes it’s perfectly normal to feel more tired than usual, especially during the first the third trimester, as the body changes and hormones go wild. Some days you will feel like exercise is the last thing you fancy doing and while it’s totally normal, it can become debilitating. If your body is crying out for rest you must listen. If you’re not feeling up to going to the gym, have a day off and go for a walk the next day to see if you feel better. Some days you will have loads of energy and other days you will not want to lift your head off the pillow. Your energy levels can fluctuate massively and this is normal as your baby takes everything they need to grow and can leave you running on empty. Fortunately you usually get a good respite during the second trimester, so make the most of exercising during month four, five and six, always remembering to listen to your body and drink plenty of water.


Are there any exercises I should not do in pregnancy?

The exercises that are advised against during pregnancy are those that are seen as high risk, such as high-altitude or high-contact sports, not because of the cardio element but because there is significant risk of falling or impact to your bump.

Even if you are normally fit and well you should always consult your doctor before exercising during pregnancy as there are some medical conditions that you can develop during pregnancy, such as anaemia, heart disease, placenta previa, incompetent cervix, gestational diabetes, which can all make exercising unsafe during pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles are super important to look after during pregnancy as they have to work super hard to support the weight of your baby. They come under a lot of strain, and this can be worsened by other pregnancy related conditions such as constipation. “It’s so important to work your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy to prevent injuries such as diastasis recti. High impact jumping and abdomen exercises like sit-ups are a big no,no in pregnancy, as they cause excessive strain on the pelvic floor. Also anything that focuses too heavily on the core should be avoided, like crunches, twists and planks, as well as anything that involves lying flat on your back for an extended periods of time, as the weight of your uterus can compress blood flow to you and your baby”

“If you are able to stay active during pregnancy, it’s important not to push yourself and adjust your energy levels and movements accordingly. Above anything else, listen to your body and ease off when you feel you are exerting yourself. Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to check you are not overdoing it. Over 140 beats per minute is your warning sign to lower your effort”. Curran advises. If you do experience any unusual changes, like chest pain, dizziness, headaches, muscle weakness or vaginal bleeding, stop exercising immediately and give your doctor or midwife a call to arrange a check-up before your exercise again. 

 
Site Disclaimer: All content on this website, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes, and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. The information provided by Sportee Mommee (“I" "we,” “us” or “our”) on https://www.sporteemommee.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site. Under no circumstances shall we have any liability of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the site or reliance on any information provided on the site. Your use of the site and your reliance on any information on the site is solely at your own risk. As always, check with a health professional before making any fitness, nutrition or health changes.

What can I and can’t I do when I’m pregnant? “That’s the question I get asked the most, especially from first-time mums”, said founder of Sportee Mommee, Helen Curran. Being nervous about overdoing it is perfectly normal and understandable, but if you’re healthy and your doctor gives you the all clear, the best thing you can do for you and your baby is to stay healthy and that includes staying active. Your doctor is likely to encourage you to continue exercising and will reassure you that it is completely safe and offers lots of benefits. It’s a great way to relieve those pregnancy aches and pains too.

pregnancy cardio workout blog

To help you get started, we’ve got a low impact cardio workout, which includes four simple yet effective movements you can do safely during each trimester. “Cardio exercise is great for boosting those endorphins and helps you mentally and physically to train for birth,” Curran explains

Once you’ve got the go-ahead from your doctor, grab your comfy maternity leggings and follow the exercises below to get your feel-good endorphins going and heart rate up:

 

  • Squat with Knee Lifts

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, abdominals, triceps.

 

Stand with your feet wide apart with toes facing forwards. Press hands together and keep elbows high. Lower into a squat. As you rise up, lift your left leg and drive your left arm down to meet the knee. Return to centre and go into squat again. As you rise up, drive the right leg up and arm down to meet it. Repeat alternate sides for 30 seconds.

 

  • Low Impact Jumping Jacks

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, arms.

Step your right foot out, and at the same time bring your arms out to the sides to shoulder height. Step back to centre and at the same time bring arms together above your head. Repeat with left foot and continue alternating for 30 seconds.

 

  • Sumo Squats & Static Lunges

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abdominals.

Stand with your feet wide apart with toes facing forwards. Press hands together and keep elbows high. Lower into a squat and as you rise up, pivot body to the side and lunge down with three pulses. Return to centre, squat again and as you rise pivot to the other side. Continue repeating for 30 seconds.

 

  • Curtsy Lunges & Reach Downs

Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, calves and abductors.

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lower your hips down into a squat and stand. Step back with your left leg and lower down into a lunge. Rise up and tap your left toes back toward the starting position. Then cross your left leg behind your right for a curtsy lunge. This is one rep. Return to the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds.

 

How often should I exercise while pregnant?

The amount you exercise can vary enormously from woman to woman, but no more than 30 minutes a day is advisable. Reduce the amount you exercise in hot conditions and never allow yourself to dehydrate or get completely out of breath.

If you’re unsure about the right amount of exercise for you, “Start with where you were pre-pregnancy and work down from that level. Pregnancy is not the right time to increase your activity, start anything completely new or push yourself harder than you did pre-pregnancy” Curran advises.

If you were active before pregnancy, it’s recommended you exercise three to five days a week. On the days you rest you can do some mobility stretches, yoga relaxation or a gentle walk, which will be as good for your mental health as much as physical health. “If you weren’t active before pregnancy, it’s best to take up your training very gradually at a low intensity and for five minutes only initially, then slowly build up each day as your strength improves. And remember, exercise doesn’t have to be down at the gym. Housework, energetic walking and gardening can burn just as many calories as a trip to the gym, so keep track of your daily steps and monitor your output and energy consumption.


What are the best cardio exercises I should do in pregnancy?

You can continue to do almost any cardio exercises you did before you were pregnant. That includes running, despite what the older generation may tell you.

“The main thing to remember with any cardio exercises during pregnancy is that you will have to modify certain movements, pace and intensity as your body changes,” Curran advises. If you didn’t do cardio before you were pregnant, stick to low impact exercising, like swimming or static cycling. This does the job of raising your heart rate, improving your blood circulation and strengthening your muscles, while minimising the stress on your body or the risk of injury”.

If you are a cross-fit junkie or a loyal gym weight lifter, most strength exercises are safe to continue while pregnant, as long as you’re cautious and can maintain control of the weight lifted. However, as your bump grows the strain on your spine increases as does relaxin, which loosens and lubricates the joints and ligaments around the pelvis. This means you are more prone to injury from overstretching. Take care not to deepen your stretches during pregnancy or extend your range of motion. Although pregnancy yoga is seen as safe, always be mindful of your core and pelvic floor and avoid backbends because they place extra strain on the connective tissue in your core. As your bump grows you will have to modify your movements and make sure your spine and pelvis are not being stressed.  Squats, lunges, deadlifts, hammer curls, shoulder presses and arm circles are all pregnancy favourites, focusing on the glutes, core, upper and middle back, shoulders, chest and biceps.  Resistance band training also makes a great pregnancy cardio workout.

 

I feel too tired to exercise. Is this normal?

Yes it’s perfectly normal to feel more tired than usual, especially during the first the third trimester, as the body changes and hormones go wild. Some days you will feel like exercise is the last thing you fancy doing and while it’s totally normal, it can become debilitating. If your body is crying out for rest you must listen. If you’re not feeling up to going to the gym, have a day off and go for a walk the next day to see if you feel better. Some days you will have loads of energy and other days you will not want to lift your head off the pillow. Your energy levels can fluctuate massively and this is normal as your baby takes everything they need to grow and can leave you running on empty. Fortunately you usually get a good respite during the second trimester, so make the most of exercising during month four, five and six, always remembering to listen to your body and drink plenty of water.


Are there any exercises I should not do in pregnancy?

The exercises that are advised against during pregnancy are those that are seen as high risk, such as high-altitude or high-contact sports, not because of the cardio element but because there is significant risk of falling or impact to your bump.

Even if you are normally fit and well you should always consult your doctor before exercising during pregnancy as there are some medical conditions that you can develop during pregnancy, such as anaemia, heart disease, placenta previa, incompetent cervix, gestational diabetes, which can all make exercising unsafe during pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles are super important to look after during pregnancy as they have to work super hard to support the weight of your baby. They come under a lot of strain, and this can be worsened by other pregnancy related conditions such as constipation. “It’s so important to work your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy to prevent injuries such as diastasis recti. High impact jumping and abdomen exercises like sit-ups are a big no,no in pregnancy, as they cause excessive strain on the pelvic floor. Also anything that focuses too heavily on the core should be avoided, like crunches, twists and planks, as well as anything that involves lying flat on your back for an extended periods of time, as the weight of your uterus can compress blood flow to you and your baby”

“If you are able to stay active during pregnancy, it’s important not to push yourself and adjust your energy levels and movements accordingly. Above anything else, listen to your body and ease off when you feel you are exerting yourself. Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to check you are not overdoing it. Over 140 beats per minute is your warning sign to lower your effort”. Curran advises. If you do experience any unusual changes, like chest pain, dizziness, headaches, muscle weakness or vaginal bleeding, stop exercising immediately and give your doctor or midwife a call to arrange a check-up before your exercise again. 

 
Site Disclaimer: All content on this website, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes, and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. The information provided by Sportee Mommee (“I" "we,” “us” or “our”) on https://www.sporteemommee.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site. Under no circumstances shall we have any liability of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the site or reliance on any information provided on the site. Your use of the site and your reliance on any information on the site is solely at your own risk. As always, check with a health professional before making any fitness, nutrition or health changes.