It is important to know the ideal pregnancy exercise heart rate, and know how to maintain it.
If you have a routine for exercise just before pregnancy came about, you can continue with the same exercise now. However, you should have a different aim this time, which is to keep your current level of fitness instead of trying to reach peak fitness.
Here are a couple of exercises you can do while pregnant.
This includes any exercise that makes you really breathe and cause your heart to beat faster. It is often referred to as ‘Cardio’ or cardiovascular conditioning.
Such exercises include brisk walking, swimming and some dance classes that you do to music.
If you have not attempted any aerobic exercise before, you can start off slowly, and with time, you build up to a maximum of four half-hour sessions a week.
Cycling is a good low-impact aerobic exercise as well. However, as your tummy grows bigger, your balance is likely to change, which means you are more likely to fall off.
If you like cycling and not a novice, you should be safe to continue cycling. But if you feel you’re beginning to lose your stability, it may be best to stay off your bike or switch to a stationary bike until you give birth.
It is also fine to use a stationary exercise bike in the gym or as part of a group session.
This is a method of exercise that’s made up of low-impact flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes on giving proper postural alignment, core strength, and muscle balance.
Pilates is an exercise named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed this exercise some time in the 1920s.
The main aim of Pilates is to enhance balance, strength, flexibility, and posture. This exercise could help your body with the strength it needs to carry the extra weight of the growing fetus. Also, it prepares you for childbirth and recovery afterward.
If you were a runner or jogger before your womb had to house a baby, it’s healthy and safe to continue during your pregnancy as long as you feel normal.
Your baby will not be affected negatively by the impact or the movement while running. It is also a great aerobic workout.
Strength training exercises make your muscles stronger. They include exercises like swimming, working with weights, walking uphill and digging the garden.
It’s a good way to keep your muscles toned while you’re pregnant.
Exercising in water won’t strain your back, but supports your bump. It’s a really good way to get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your joints and ligaments.
You can have aquanatal classes as it can be fun, and a way to meet other mums-to-be.
However, you may need to avoid breast-stroke. This is because it can cause back pain if your spine is not properly aligned.
Walking is a great deal for pregnancy fitness. As long as you feel comfortable, you can do it for the whole nine months.
Walking is free and it’s available on your doorstep. If you’re a novice to exercising, walking is a good way to start.
For mental and physical well-being, yoga is a good exercise to take on.
Yoga is a gentle way to enhance your posture, balance, and coordination. It helps you practice good breath control, relaxation, diet control, and positive thinking.
Furthermore, it helps you meditate with the aim of developing harmony in the body, mind, and environment.
Yoga uses different body positions and breathing exercises. Pregnancy yoga applies relaxation and breathing techniques with positions that are adapted for pregnancy.
You can read more about yoga here.
Can I exercise at home while I’m pregnant?
There are plenty of exercises you can do at home if you cannot get out. These exercises would also go well if you’re short of time and can fit around your daily activities.
If you still work while pregnant, you could drop off a stop before yours, and walk the rest of the distance home. Just ensure you walk sometimes.
What are Pelvic floor exercises?
Pregnancy and birth have a way of weakening your pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are located right in your pelvis. They go from your pubic bone at the front, to the base of your spine at your back. They are shaped like a hammock and protect your bowels, womb, and bladder.
The function of this muscle is to support these organs when you jump, sneeze or cough, lift heavy things, and importantly, the pushing out of your baby in the second stage of labour.
It is important that you exercise the muscles of your pelvic floor when you’re pregnant. Keeping them strong can help you decrease the risk of becoming incontinent (when wee leaks out accidentally).
These exercises can be done at any time of day, wherever you are, without anyone really knowing you’re doing these exercises.
Where can I get pregnancy exercise classes?
It’s been noticed that it’s not always easy to get suitable sessions or an instructor while you are pregnant, so here are some tips on how to go about getting one:
- Ask your midwife, GP or the receptionist at your surgery or antenatal clinic.
- You can get recommendations from Facebook groups or online forums specifically for moms in your local area. You can know about local classes or instructors.
- You can go to your usual class or gym and see if they can refer an instructor.
- By contacting your local council or leisure center, you can ask about local services. In cases where you do not see anything on their website, give them a call and there’s a chance they’ll know somewhere nearby that offers sessions.
- Check out posters in local maternity/baby stores or at community centers. Also, ask other pregnant women or moms you cross paths with.
- Most of the instructors are members of the Register of Exercise Professionals. You can search for those who are well qualified to tutor pregnant women.
- Always make certain that you tell your instructor about your pregnancy, including any complications or medical conditions.
In a case where you join a general class rather than a pregnancy-specific class, be sure to ask the instructor if they are able to advise you on any exercises that you shouldn’t do or ways to adapt exercises for you. If they aren’t able to do this, you should look for a different session.
Things to be aware of
There are a couple of things you should be aware of:
- Be cautious if the exercises you’re doing could make you lose balance. Exercises like cycling, horse riding or skiing.
- Try as much as you can to keep away from contact sports; where there is a risk of being hit. Sports like kickboxing, football, judo or squash (regardless if you’re in a team, you can still continue without any contact training).
- Avoid exercising at high altitudes without acclimatizing.
- Don’t exercise for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.
- If you experience any unusual symptoms, stop exercising and contact your doctor or midwife at that moment.
- Don’t let your temperature get too hot. Drink enough water, don’t over-exercise and don’t exercise in a very hot, humid climate without acclimatizing.
- Avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back after 16 weeks.
If you cautiously follow these points, you can safely continue to stay fit through your pregnancy.
If you never really exercised before you got pregnant, it is safe and healthy that you start now.
You can start with 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and gradually increase it to 30-minute sessions 4 days a week or every day.
Exercises do not have to mean planned sessions.
Don’t overdo it
Pushing yourself too hard can make you overheat, don’t do that – that’s not good for your baby. Your aim should be to work hard enough just to breathe more deeply and get your heart to beat faster.
Do not work to the extent you can’t pass the talk test. You should be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath; feeling like the air you’re taking in is not enough.
In a case where you’re doing exercises in the gym, tell the gym instructor you’re pregnant and ask their advice about checking your heart rate.
Pregnancy Exercise Heart rate to aim for when doing aerobic exercise
|Age||Heart rate (beats/minute)|
|Lower than 20 years||140-155|
|20 to 29 years||135-150|
|30 to 39 years||130-145|
|Above 40 years||125-140|
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