Can pregnant women still use the gym?

Can pregnant women still use the gym?
June 30, 2017 Sophie Wishart

Read our tips for safe pregnancy gym workouts for your happy fit pregnancy!

Pregnancy gym workouts with weightsDon’t cancel your gym membership now you’re pregnant …you CAN continue to enjoy your gym workouts during pregnancy.
Your pregnancy workout should be about maintaining fitness, rather an improvement, gradually reducing resistance levels as your pregnancy progresses. Expect to be at approximately 70% of your pre-pregnancy levels by the end of your third trimester – it is better to aim for more repetitions and lower weights.
Cardio and strength exercises are good for you and good for your baby too – but like any other exercise during pregnancy, adapt your routine as your baby bump gets bigger.
If an exercise or cardio-machine in the gym doesn’t feel comfortable, simply move on and try a different exercise.

“Slow down as your bump gets bigger – even a fast walk on  the treadmill will keep your heart pumping, your blood circulating and your muscles strong!”

Check out our tips on using gym equipment when pregnant:

Using a treadmill when pregnant

There’s no reason to stop using a treadmill during pregnancy. Expect to slow down as your bump gets bigger and ease up when you need to, even if this means a fast walk rather than running. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your arms swinging close to the side of your body at a 90o angle to avoid bumping your breasts as you run.

Upright cycle for pregnant women

Cycling when pregnant is an excellent low impact activity that’s safe to continue throughout pregnancy – a static gym bike is ideal exercise for pregnant women, with no issues around balance or traffic.
Adjust the seat to the correct height, with the seat level to your hip joint when standing next to the cycle. Your knees should have a slight bend at the lowest point when you pedal and try and should avoid bumping your bump at the highest point when you pedal.

Recumbent cycle during pregnancy

There’s no impact with a recumbent bike and some women prefer the additional support provided for your lower back. As your baby develops it can become difficult to cycle with your knees in alignment, making the recumbent bike less comfortable but do what works best for you.
Whether you prefer to cycle sitting up or sitting back, gradually reduce your speeds during the second and third trimesters – it’s better to enjoy regular exercise during pregnancy than try and meet or beat your pre-pregnancy targets.

Using a step machine when pregnant

The step machine is fine to include as part of your pregnancy exercise routine too! Cut back your time on the stepper and reduce your intensity levels as your pregnancy progresses. Maintain an upright posture and if you experience any pelvic pain when using a step machine – simply stop!

Cross trainer (or elliptical trainer)

Cross trainers are a low impact machine and suitable for pregnant women, especially if you’re an experienced user. Maintain a comfortable speed and reduce your stride length if you experience any pelvic discomfort. Holding the handles to the side of your body in preference to the front will help you maintain an upright posture.

Rowing machine

Whilst a rowing machine is a great low impact machine it can be difficult to get on and off during the latter stages of your pregnancy and your bump is likely to get in the way. Reduce intensity as your pregnancy progresses and as soon as your thighs start to touch your abdomen when you row, it’s time to stop.

Make sure…..

1. Warm up and cool down- it’s even more important when you’re exercising for two! Warming up increases your heart rate, raises the temperature of your muscles for optimum flexibility and dilates your blood vessels so your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. Failing to cool down properly can sometimes make you feel lightheaded, so it’s important to allow your body to gently return to normal after your pregnancy exercise session
2. If an exercise feels uncomfortable, or makes you feel out of breath or dizzy it’s time to slow down or stop.
3. Wear well-fitting supportive maternity gymwear – not just for your own self-esteem but to hold your baby bump securely.
4. Stay hydrated – keep that water bottle handy throughout your workout!
5. If your gym is kitted out with other cardio-vascular machines such as a climbers or ski track equipment we would only recommend them only to experienced users – and only during the first and early second trimester.
6. Talk to the instructors in your gym about adapting your programme for working out while pregnant.
Whilst there’s no reason to stop exercising when pregnant (provided you have no health or medical issues) do let your fitness instructors know that you’re expecting. And if you have any concerns about your health or pregnancy, discuss your exercise plans with your doctor or midwife.

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