Can I Do HIIT Workouts When I’m Pregnant?
By Jenn Sinrich | Originally Published November 21 on Aaptiv | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross
If you’re planning on keeping up with your fitness routine during pregnancy, good for you! Prenatal exercise offers countless benefits for both you and your growing baby. “Regular exercise not only helps build your muscles, gives you energy, and keeps you healthy, but it mentally helps you through the nine months of expected bodily changes,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., OB/GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. But do the same rules apply for HIIT training while pregnant?*
The Short Answer: Yes
If you’ve already been participating in HIIT workouts pre-pregnancy and you’re experiencing a healthy pregnancy, chances are your doctor will give you the green light to continue HIIT training while pregnant. Just remember that pregnancy can impact joint stability, balance and coordination and even heart rate fluctuations, so Dr. Ross stresses the importance of listening to your body.
What To Expect
During your first trimester, you can expect your body to respond to HIIT training the way it normally would. Although, early pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness, fatigue, and cramping, may make it more difficult to finish a full workout. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to make subtle changes in your HIIT program depending on any unexpected changes. In your second trimester, for example, your growing belly may get in the way of some of your usual moves.
“Once the third trimester hits, you may feel the need to slow down a bit, due to a new set of symptoms including added pressure on your bladder, a widening cervix, and elevated heart rate,” says fitness instructor and creator of TFIGNITE PROGRAM and Taylored Fitness, Brooke Taylor. “This is when you start noticing that normal tasks, such as climbing the stairs, causes you to get out of breath.”
If you experience any difficulties HIIT training while pregnant, opt for modified versions of your go-to moves. Try moves that facilitate the shift of weight, back pain, and ligament stretching third-trimester moms-to-be deal with, explains Taylor. Avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back, especially once you’ve passed your first trimester. This may reduce the risk of impacting the blood flow to your growing baby and prevent hypertension during pregnancy, known as preeclampsia.
When To Stop
Stop HIIT workouts and call your doctor or healthcare provider if you get any of these symptoms: Vaginal bleeding, dizziness or feeling faint, increased shortness of breast, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, uterine contractions, decreased fetal movement or fluid leaking from the vagina.
Chances are you’ll be perfectly fine and experience a healthy pregnancy even while incorporating HIIT workouts in your fitness routine. But remember to always listen to your body. If HIIT workouts aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other types of workouts that are pregnancy-friendly and will help you reach your 30 minutes of exercise daily. Try brisk walking, running, swimming, recumbent cycling, and strength training. Exercises that Dr. Ross says should without a doubt be avoided during pregnancy include heavy weight training, skiing, contact sports, such as soccer and basketball and water sports such as scuba diving.