“Is it safe to do cardio while pregnant?” This is a question we get all the time from expecting mothers, and the short answer is yes. By cardio we mean exercise that elevates your heart rate, improving blood circulation, oxygen intake and helping keep your blood pressure low.
It’s safe to say, doing cardiovascular exercise has many benefits during pregnancy. However, you should always get the OK from your primary caregiver before engaging in any exercise program.
At-home, low impact aerobics is an easy way to add cardiovascular exercise to your day while pregnant.
A good cardiovascular workout while pregnant consists of:
- A warmup
- Dynamic flexibility exercises
- A short aerobic sequence
Benefits of cardio while pregnant
Doing cardio while pregnant might look somewhat different to your normal cardio workouts. The intention of a pregnancy cardio workout is to raise your body temperature slowly and increase blood flow to the muscles. This, in turn, improves your circulation and helps your skin, muscles and vital organs receive the blood supply they need.
Some other benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy include:
- Increased serotonin and endorphin levels, boosting your mood instantly
- Better sleep
- Preventing and relieving constipation and fluid retention through the improved functioning of your body systems, such as your bowel and kidneys
The benefits of doing cardio while pregnant extend beyond your pregnancy as well. It can make your labour experience easier and boost recovery after your baby is born.
Tips for safe cardio during pregnancy
As much as cardio has its benefits, pregnancy brings with it specific health concerns. However, doing cardio while pregnant is completely safe when done right.
Here are some tips for safe cardio workouts when you're pregnant:
- Listen to your body and any signs of discomfort
- Stop and modify intensity if needed
- Be conscious of over-heating
- Stay well hydrated
- Keep your heart rate below 150 bpm
A good marker for the intensity of the workout is being able to carry out a conversation comfortably while working out.
At Nourish Baby, we have designed a no-equipment cardio workout you can safely do while pregnant. The aim of this workout is to enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, helping your developing baby get them too. It’s a workout you can modify and keep doing regularly throughout your pregnancy to keep you and your baby healthy and happy.
Most women are fertile two weeks before their period starts. However, breastfeeding can delay the return of periods, making it hard for women to know with any confidence when their ‘fertile window’ may be. This is why some women conceive again before their periods have come back.
An epidural is an anaesthetic procedure, where a local anaesthetic is injected into the epidural space near the spinal cord. An epidural anaesthetic numbs the nerves so pain cannot be felt in certain areas of the body.
An epidural during labour helps to block pain signals from contractions. If birth intervention is needed, e.g., caesarean or forceps, an epidural is a common form of anaesthetic.