Figuring out appropriate ways to work out during your pregnancy can be confusing and frustrating. Despite what you might be told, it’s natural that you will worry about your baby and what is safest for them when choosing how to keep your body healthy throughout the pregnancy.
One related question that many have is, “Can I use the elliptical while pregnant?” Like all exercises, there are limitations to what you can do and when you can do it, but it is possible to use the elliptical while pregnant. Let’s talk about what restrictions you should follow while using the elliptical machine.
What Do the Doctors Say?
Doctors have said that using an elliptical during early pregnancy is OK! They recommend that you check with your personal doctor before beginning a workout routine, but you can generally keep using the elliptical until it becomes uncomfortable.
Working out on a low-impact piece of exercise equipment like the elliptical is highly recommended for pregnant women over those that would cause sharp or sudden motions. Smooth exercises that help to keep your body in shape while improving your cardiovascular health are perfect for women preparing for labor in a few months.
Other Good Exercises
Using an elliptical isn’t the only exercise that is recommended for pregnant women. The following types of exercise are also great choices:
- Walking on treadmill
- Walking outdoors
- Aerobics class with light weights
- Body sculpt class
- Water aerobics
- Recumbent bike (great when your belly is too big for other exercises)
These and other low-impact exercises are great for keeping your body in shape but remember not to overdo it! Check in with your OB frequently to make sure you are putting on enough weight (you need some extra while pregnant!) and that you’re not overdoing it.
Some exercises should simply be avoided while pregnant, especially after the first few months. These exercises are not recommended for pregnant women unless you have special modifications in place with a doctor’s approval:
- Anything too much; don’t work out more than 30 to 45 minutes daily.
- Heavyweight lifting
- Intense step class (OK during the first trimester)
- Anything that causes you to hold your breath (i.e., yoga, heavyweight lifting)
- Exercises where you lie on your back (OK during the first trimester)
- Contact sports
- Squash and tennis (OK until you start to have trouble balancing)
Most exercises can be done during your first trimester, but you may want to be cautious about what you try as you move into your second and third trimester as the risk gets higher during those periods.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Elliptical while Pregnant?
Generally speaking, ellipticals are one of the most famous pieces of exercise equipment. Using one has many benefits, and there are even some additional benefits for those who are carrying a baby around!
Some of the many benefits of using an elliptical include:
- Improve overall fitness
- Alleviates back pain
- Prevents unnecessary weight gain
- Increases energy
- Improves stamina
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces risk of pregnancy-related problems
As you can see, adding a bit of elliptical time to your schedule every week can be a great way to make sure that you are prepared for the labor process and for raising a new child.
How to Use the Elliptical while Pregnant?
It’s great that you want to keep your body in shape throughout pregnancy. But how do you start using an elliptical machine? Whether you have used one before you were pregnant or not, it is essential that you start off very slow.
First, you should always stretch out to prevent injury. Here’s a good stretch for pre-elliptical workouts:
Stretch out your hamstrings before working out.
- Sit down on the floor.
- Put your legs out in front of you.
- Lean forward slowly; trying to touch your feet.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
- Repeat five times.
- Do this again after your workout.
It may be hard to do this stretch once your belly starts getting in the way, but try to do it as much as possible until that time.
Here’s what you should do:
- Do the five-minute warm-up explained above.
- Start with short sessions of no more than 10 or 15 minutes.
- Take frequent breaks during the workout and drink plenty of fluids.
- Build your time up gradually until you finish a 30-minute workout.
- At the end of your workout, be sure to do a five-minute cooldown.
If at any point during the exercise you begin to feel faint, nauseous, or overheated, stop and rest. There’s no reason to risk pushing yourself too far when there’s so much at stake!
You should try to work out on the elliptical three to five days a week, making sure to take rest days in between work out days. Women who were active before pregnancy may still prefer to work out daily, just check in with your doctor to get the go-ahead nod on this plan.
Know When to Stop
While some women can keep doing light exercises throughout their entire pregnancy, others cannot. It all depends on your body and how your baby is doing. That is why it is crucial for you to know when it is time to stop exercising.
In the event that your heart rate goes over 140 beats per minute or your temperature reaches of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should stop exercising. These are signs that your body is having to work too hard to exercise while maintaining the baby’s health, so you should take a break and come back to your exercise another day.
If you start to feel like working out on the elliptical isn’t comfortable for you or the baby anymore, it’s time to switch to an even lower impact exercise such as walking. This usually happens in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Elliptical for Energy!
Don’t be afraid of working out while you are pregnant! While it can seem weird to work out when you are supporting another life inside your body, you’re actually doing both you and your baby a favor by keeping your body in shape.
So, can I use the elliptical while pregnant? Absolutely!
It’s been shown that those who work out during pregnancy usually have an easier time with labor because their bodies are stronger, and they have a better cardiovascular system. Remember this when you’re feeling reluctant to go to the gym, but never overdo it. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Go see a doctor in those cases.