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Working out during pregnancy is often encouraged, but it is important to know how much is enough and what too much training looks like.

Training during pregnancy? This won't be a problem as long as you have checked with your doctor. Women aren't as fragile as we sometimes feel once pregnant. Generations of women have carried children and continued to work, stay active and have healthy, happy babies. These days, too much caution can actually hold you back from doing what is actually good for you and your baby.


There are definitely circumstances which cause higher risk pregnancies to require more cation and attention. However, these cases are rare. Talk to your doctor to find out if your pregnancy is high risk and whether cardiovascular workouts are okay for you.


What Cardio Can You Do?

Cardio workouts are essentially any activity which raises your heart rate and maintains this rate for a period of time. The time frame may last 10 minutes all the way up to an hour or more. Depending on the shape you were in before pregnancy, you may find cardio workouts challenging or not challenging enough. You may choose low impact cardio;

  • walking
  • swimming
  • the elliptical machine
  • stationary bike
  • gardening

Alternatively, you may choose slightly more intense cardio:

  • including jogging
  • fitness class designed for pregnant women
  • dancing
  • water aerobics 

These are all viable options for getting in your Cardio workout during pregnancy. For many, a good reason to get going is simply that. Motivation and time restrictions may be getting in your way when it comes to actually getting active or continuing on with a good cardiovascular exercise program. Having a good reason to workout may be the best motivation.

Benefits of cardio during pregnancy

Prenatal exercise is considered a very healthy thing to do. There are several well researched benefits of exercise in general, and cardio workouts specifically, during pregnancy.

  • Regular cardio exercise has been linked to fewer cases of gestational diabetes
  • You'll experience an elevation in mood
  • You'll experience a quicker postpartum recovery
  • Reduced back aches, headaches, and less bloating and constipation
  • Easier labour and childbirth
  • Improved quality and quantity of sleep
  • Reduces likelihood of high birth weight, which often leads to obesity later in life

These are all great reasons to get you going. The key is to be consistent. Even if you have never exercised before, getting active will benefit you and your baby. Getting started does not have to be complicated or take a lot of your time. Simply re-allot and prioritize your time to allow for a few minutes of exercise each day. Even 30 minutes every other day is enough to help you enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Hyatt, Gwen, and Cram, Catherine. Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design. Tuscon, AZ: DSW Fitness, 2003.
  • Veille JC, Hohimer AR, Burry K, Speroff L. The effect of exercise on uterine activity in the last eight weeks of pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1985,151:727-30.
  • “Exercising During Pregnancy: Make your pregnancy easier with a little activity” By Paige Waehner. Published April 2010. Accessed September 2012. Retrieved from:
  • Photo courtesy of salforduniversity on Flickr: