After we've covered the WHY you should do cardio workouts during pregnancy (if you missed it, feel free to check out this blog post), let's talk about the WHAT: What kind of cardio workout is good for pregnancy?
The rule of thumb is that you can continue doing whatever you did prior to pregnancy, however this might not always be the best choice. I'll give you a couple of examples: Let's say you used to run. Okay, so you can keep doing that for perhaps until 20 weeks in, when tummy is not that big. But what happens to your pelvic floor when you continue to bounce with the extra load until the very end? Or let's say you used to play basketball, or do ice-skating. What if you get hit by the ball straight in your tummy? or if someone hits you by accident on defense? Or what if you lose balance and fall of your skates? You get the point, right? While it is possible that in terms of the physical activity you might totally be up for it, when it comes to safety it's not always the smartest move.
Here are a few activities you can do for your prenatal cardio routine:
1. Swimming - one of the top ones when it comes to safety, as there is zero impact.
2. Outdoor walking - try to chose flat surfaces that won't have any obstacles on the way due to risk of falling.
3. Indoor walking on a treadmill - this is a great option as well, and even allows you to play with the incline a bit to make it a bit more challenging without having to go climb a mountain outside.
4. Dancing / aerobic classes - great for hip mobility and reducing lower back pain, just make sure the class you take is prenatal appropriate and doesn't involve high intensity and/or high impact moves.
5. Elliptical - give you a full body workout without any impact.
What to avoid? Anything that had a risk of falling, like: Outdoor workouts in an uneven surface, outdoor cycling, skates, skiing, cardio classes with an aerobic step etc.
Anything that can physically hurt you, like: Ball games, contact sports etc.
In addition , always pay attention to these warning signs: If you feel dizzy, short of breath or experience vaginal bleeding or pain of any kind, stop exercising immediately and call your doctor.
Stay safe and have fun!