Written by Sindhuja Prabhu
Physical training during pregnancy is a very good option to stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. You can avoid many health issues and keep various parameters under control. Doctors advise pregnant women to stay active and exercise through pregnancy but do they recommend HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises during pregnancy? Is it safe?
Exercises during pregnancy must target various parts of your body and focus on your stamina as well. Staying active will help keep your gestational diabetes and blood pressure under control, among other things. Good stamina is important for a smooth and easy delivery, as your labor can be long and intense. Read on to know if HIIT during pregnancy can help you achieve all this.
In This Article
As the name suggests, these exercises are high in intensity, meaning they require you to put in a lot of effort to complete the exercise. They will push your body to its limits and help your body get stronger and improve over time. the number of repetitions is also high in some circuits.
High-Intensity Interval Training, more commonly known as HIIT requires you to do a set of exercises for a very short span of time but at high intensity. You can take breaks between exercises. So, you will push your body to its physical limits and then give it a break. Over time, your body’s limits will expand, enabling you to do more repetitions or increase the speed.
For example –In HIIT, you will do squats at high speed for about 60 seconds without a break and then take a break for a few seconds, before you move on to the next exercise.
Staying active is very important during pregnancy. Gone are the days when an expecting mother was asked to sit and get pampered by all around her. Today, people are more aware of the various health issues that can affect a pregnant woman and how to keep them at bay.
HIIT can increase your endurance, and body strength and focus on different groups of muscles as required. While walking during pregnancy is definitely good exercise, it may not suffice. Some women need more and HIIT might just be what they need.
HIIT exercises are safe to do during pregnancy, provided you are used to them before and your doctor gives you a green signal. It is important for you to speak with your doctor before you continue doing them. Even if you are used to doing them before conception. Do not take a self-call on high-intensity exercises when pregnant.
However, you can always modify HIIT exercises to claim their benefits. Talk to your doctor and you are good to go if they don’t anticipate a complicated pregnancy.
If you are wondering what exercises you can do when pregnant, here are some options
Instead of staying parallel to the floor in a plank position, use a box to place your hands on, Your body will be inclined and your pregnant belly will not be hanging down.
Reverse lunges are always safer during pregnancy as you won’t be landing forward with a jerk. You can reduce the weights you carry for the bicep curl.
Opt for step-ups instead of box jumps. You can even opt for a smaller box so that you don’t have to put pressure on your pelvic muscle to climb the box.
Squat and sit on a chair instead of going all the way down into a deep squat. The intensity and the speed are lower this way.
[Read : Squats During Pregnancy]
Use a bench or a box instead to place your hands for push-ups instead of doing it flat on the ground.
Many women may fear doing HIIT exercises during pregnancy. Are you one of them? If yes, here are some ways in which HIIT can benefit you during pregnancy
HIIT can feel very hard. Here are some precautions to take if you are doing HIIT exercises when pregnant
It is ok to stop HIIT exercises during pregnancy. You may have started with no intention to stop till the end. However, pregnancy can change your body in multiple ways and you have no control over it. If there is a need, to stop exercising or change your workout routine, don’t hesitate to do so.
If your body is resisting or giving clues that the strain is too much, listens to it! if you experience intense stomach pain, chest pain, or sudden dizziness, it means your body is too tired. If you feel any discomfort while walking or feel contractions, you should stop doing HIIT.
While it is good to have targets and go all-out to achieve them, pregnancy might not be the right time for such goals. It is not advisable to push your body too much to do better than last time. Your body is under a lot of physical and hormonal strain, and pushing it too much now can become counterproductive.
Pregnancy can affect your balance. So, when you move about exercising during pregnancy, ensure you move slowly and maintain balance at all times.
HIIT exercises can target each part of your body and improve your endurance as well. However, when you are pregnant and plan on doing
HIIT, you need to be aware of the following side effects
Straining too much during exercising or pushing your body beyond its usual limit can increase your heart rate. Since you are pregnant, this can happen a lot faster than usual.
Doing some exercise when you are very tired can result in mistakes. HIIT during pregnancy can be very tiring for some women.
Jumping or squatting a lot during pregnancy can cause your uterus to slip lower. This can not only be painful and uncomfortable, but your doctor might advise bed rest too.
You sweat a lot when you do HIIT exercises. Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration, which is not safe during pregnancy.
HIIT can be a great exercise routine to stay fit during pregnancy. However, as your pregnancy progresses, you need to modify the exercises to stay safe. Here are a few ways in which you can alter the regular HIIT workouts during pregnancy
Usual HIIT exercises can involve a lot of jumping or bending at the hips. When pregnant, it is advisable to avoid such exercises. Bending down too fast is not only difficult during pregnancy, but is very unsafe too. Jumping during pregnancy is also not very safe. So, you can reach up as high as you can instead of jumping.
You can reduce the number of repetitions you do for each exercise. When you push your body to do more than its comfort level, especially when pregnant, it may not help.
HIIT can increase your body temperature very quickly. Pregnancy also increases your body temperature. Letting it raise too much is not safe for your pregnancy. So, ensure you work out in an air-conditioned or well-ventilated room.
If you are unable to keep up with the intensity or the speed of the exercises, don’t hesitate to tone it down. You can opt to do 10 squats of 2 sets each instead of doing all 20 squats in a few seconds.
If you have always been active and exercising, or even doing HIIT as a part of your regular fitness routine, you can continue doing it during pregnancy as well. You may want to reduce the intensity and modify the workouts as the pregnancy progresses. However, if you are new to HIIT, pregnancy is not the time to start something so physically demanding.
If you are finding it difficult to maintain the right posture or breathe normally, you need to tone down the intensity or even stop your HIIT exercises during pregnancy.
Yes, you can; provided you are used to HIIT exercises before pregnancy and the doctor approves HIIT during pregnancy.
You can do them as long as you are comfortable and the doctor is okay with it. Listen to your body, and stop when needed.
No, exercises be they light or intense, cannot hurt the fetus, which is well protected behind multiple layers in the womb.
Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.
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