Aerobics classes are a good way to stay active and can help you to have a healthy pregnancy.
If you did aerobics before you became pregnant, it’s fine to continue now that you are pregnant. Aerobics is great for your heart and lungs and improves muscle strength. It is safe to do and can help you to have a healthier pregnancy.
If you are new to aerobics, tell the instructor that you are pregnant and start with just 15 minutes' continuous safe exercise three times a week. Increase this gradually to a maximum of four 30-minute sessions a week.
If you stick to low-impact routines you can usually continue for most of your pregnancy – as long as you feel comfortable. Low impact means always keeping at least one foot on the ground, for example, marching or knee raises instead of jogging or jumping. You'll probably find that you naturally slow down a bit as you reach the last few months of your pregnancy.
What happens when I do aerobics in pregnancy?
Any kind of aerobic exercise in pregnancy will make you breathe harder and your heart will beat more quickly. Because your heart is beating faster, the blood goes round your body more quickly, which means that your muscles receive more oxygen.
Because you also breathe deeper, there is extra oxygen coming into your body, so you don’t have to worry about baby, he or she will still get all the oxygen they need. When you do aerobic exercise in pregnancy, check that you're not overdoing it by trying the 'talk test' every so often.
Find out more about safe exercise in pregnancy.
Tips for safe pregnancy aerobics
- Tell the instructor you are pregnant or look for an exercise class specifically for pregnant women.
- Make sure you take things gently at first, especially if you're new to exercise, and build up gradually.
- Make sure you don't overheat. Avoid exercising anywhere where it’s very warm, wear cool clothing and drink plenty of water. If you feel too hot, stop and rest.
- Always keep one foot on the floor and avoid sudden movements or changes in direction.
- If you normally use a step in your aerobic routine, you might want to either lower it or not use it at all. Make sure you wear supportive shoes and a well-fitting sports bra.
- It's fine to carry on with low-impact aerobics for as long as you feel comfortable.
Make sure you warm up and cool down when you exercise in pregnancy
It's important to warm up before you start to exercise, so your body has a chance to get used to being more active. When you've finished exercising, cool down so that your body returns gently to being at rest. Warming up and cooling down when you exercise means you're less likely to hurt yourself or overdo it.
If you do an exercise class, the teacher is likely to include a warm up and cool down as part of the session. If you're exercising on your own, you should do a five- to ten-minute warm-up. Something like a medium-paced walk, marching on the spot or some gentle toe taps and side steps are all good ways to gradually increase your heart rate and warm your muscles.
At the end of the session, cool down by gradually making what you are doing easier or repeat what you did for the warm up until your breathing returns to normal.
Yoga is a great way to stay active and look after your wellbeing during and after pregnancy. There are some brilliant tutorials you can access online, just make sure they are specialised for pregnancy. The Yoga Midwife takes us through some simple poses to get you started.
We are all trying to cope with changes to our routine, including how we eat and exercise to look after ourselves. The important thing is trying to be as active as you can, without comparing yourself to others.
Pregnancy-safe, at-home workouts with no equipment needed! We asked Charlie, founder of Bumps and Burpees and personal trainer qualified in pre & post natal training to provide some simple exercises to do at home.
Stuck at your desk feeling uncomfortable and achy? Have a go at our simple pregnancy excises - you don’t even need to leave your desk.
Many people find it helps to set exercise goals to help them stay fit during pregnancy.
Most types of exercise are fine even if you are overweight. Being active during your pregnancy is safe and healthy for you and your baby.
- RCOG (2006). Exercise in Pregnancy: Statement No. 4, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/statements/statement-no-4.pdf
- NHS Choices. Exercise in pregnancy. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-exercise.aspx (Page last reviewed: 14/01/2017. Next review due: 14/01/2020)
ℹLast reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.