Cardio Endurance During Pregnancy


I am a runner, I started in January, have done 2 10K races and run about a 10min mile. I'm now 15 weeks pregnant with our 3rd baby.

I don't want to lose all the cardio that I've built up. I had been running up until a couple weeks ago when I hurt my hip flexor. Now that feels better but I haven't started running again.

I've been using the elliptical machine but wanted to know if you could recommend anything else that I could do to maintain my cardio fitness?

Also any exercises appropriate for me as I go through this pregnancy and afterward to get back to where I was that you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.

Answered by:
Doris Chai


Anything that gets your heart rate up will keep your cardio up as well, it does not have to be running. If you like to do the elliptical, another form of that type of cardio would be to bike. Biking would be less impact on your joints and is less likely that you may pull something.

I Personally would suggest a high rep. resistance training in a circuit routine. Opposed to a steady state workout where you would set a goal for "45 min. of cardio", this workout will be completed in the fastest amount of time possible within your capabilities.

This type of work out will have the same benefits of strengthening your cardio by the fast pace you use as well as keep your muscles strong.   Another added benefit is the metabolic boost you will receive from the work out after it has been completed.

For example you could use light weights, resistance band, and a Swiss ball to do a work out as follows: 3 to 4 sets and 15-20 Reps. of all exercises  

  • First Exercise:  Ball squats with bicep curls taking a second at the bottom of the squat for the curl.

  • Second Exercise:   Row with the resistance band and squat.

  • Third Exercise: Have a resistance band around the ankle, side step, and do shoulder presses with the light weights. 10 reps on each leg.

  • Fourth Exercise: Plank on a swiss ball. Arms on swiss ball, toes on the floor moving the swiss ball straight up in front of you and back to your starting position.

These work-outs target all major body parts and if you do them with a good amount of speed your heart rate will be up.

You have to complete these workouts at a fast pace though. Completing them slowly will not help you reach a high heart rate and there for will not make this a cardio workout.

Resting no more than 20 seconds in between sets would be ideal. These exercises will be good for you because they help with balance and core and over-all keeping your muscle which is very important for a runner to maintain.

The resistance side step, will also help with your balance and all the squats will keep your legs strong and in shape which will also help you when you are ready to start running again.

General Recommendations

Most doctors recommend for the average pregnant women, when working out your heart rate should stay around 140 but since you are already active and have been working out more than the average women, it is ok to go a little above that.

You should still be able to talk while doing your work outs, if you can't talk, then you are lacking oxygen which means the baby is lacking oxygen. If you are going to do resistant training workouts like this, it is important to keep hydrated during the work out and a fan on if possible.

This will prevent her from over-heating. It is very easy for pregnant women to pass out from over exertion during work outs and staying cool will prevent this. After your pregnancy you can continue these workouts or similar work outs but at a faster pace and then go for a run afterwards.

Most doctors recommend six weeks until being able to run again. The thing is, after birth, if you feel like you can work out, I would start with body weight exercises only. Then add resistant training and weights. Then run when you are able to.

A good way to know if you are doing too much after birth while working out is if you starts to heavily bleed again. Women should not be working out after birth until they are bleeding lightly and if working out makes them bleed more then that is a sign that their body is not ready for that type of work yet. The best thing to say is to slowly introduce your workouts back in a little at a time.

More Cardio Endurance Information


Back from Cardio Endurance During Pregnacy to the Questions Home Page

blog comments powered by Disqus