pregnant woman doing HIIT training workout

HIIT and Pregnancy: The Truth About High Intensity Interval Training During Pregnancy

Are you wondering is HIIT training safe during pregnancy? You’re not alone. A lot of women are curious about how to modify their high intensity interval training workouts to make them safe for pregnancy. In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions about HIIT and pregnancy.

We’ll discuss whether or not HIIT is safe in each trimester, and we’ll give you some tips on how to adapt your workouts for a pregnant body. Plus, we’ll tell you who should avoid HIIT during pregnancy.

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Is HIIT Training Safe During Pregnancy?

The short answer is yes, HIIT is generally safe during pregnancy. However, as with any type of exercise, there are some things to keep in mind.

First of all, before adding in or changing any exercise during pregnancy always consult with your trusted physician. While HIIT workouts can be a great choice for many during their pregnancy, that is not always the case.

Then remember above all, listen to your body. If something feels off or too difficult, stop and rest.

Next, make sure you are well hydrated before and after any prenatal workout.

And finally, avoid overheating by exercising in a cool or well-ventilated area. It is much easier to overheat or incur an injury when working out while pregnant than it is under normal circumstances.

But these super generalized reminders are really just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dive into the details of whether or not HIIT training is safe during all of pregnancy for everyone.


What is HIIT Training?

If you are not familiar with this exercise acronym, let me introduce you to one of my favorite forms of exercise!

HIIT is short for high intensity interval training. It is a type of exercise where you do an activity at a high intensity level followed by a brief recovery period. You repeat the sequence multiple times in one session.

When first beginning HIIT training you could expect to do 30 seconds of an exercise at max intensity followed by a 30 second rest. A more advanced HIIT workout would often contain 45-60 seconds of all-out intensity followed by a 15-20 second rest. This pattern (or similar varieties) are performed over and over.

Typically HIIT workouts are rather short because you are putting in an all-out effort for so much of the time. Typical lengths of HIIT training workouts vary but can be anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

However, you don’t need to do a full HIIT workout every time to reap the huge benefits of high intensity interval training.

You can also do shorter HIIT workouts of 3-5 minutes. Just make sure you are working at a high intensity level during those few minutes or add some HIIT intervals between your typical weight lifting sets.


What are the benefits of HIIT Training?

There are so many benefits of HIIT training!

First of all, it is a very efficient way to workout. You can get your heart rate up and break a sweat in a short amount of time.

Secondly, HIIT workouts help you build both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This is because you are working at such a high intensity that your body is forced to use both energy systems.

Because of the intensity of effort you put out during HIIT training, depriving your muscles of oxygen, your metabolism will increase for up to 48 hours post-workout!

And finally, HIIT workouts help improve insulin sensitivity, can increase fat burning, and can help reduce belly fat. All of these benefits are huge for pregnant women!

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of HIIT training, let’s talk about whether or not it is safe during pregnancy.

RELATED: How to Safely Burn Fat During Pregnancy


the perfect pregnancy fitness plan


Can You Do HIIT Safely During Pregnancy?

As I mentioned before, HIIT is generally safe during pregnancy. If you have never participated in HIIT training before though, during your pregnancy might not be the best time to jump in, especially if you are past your first trimester.

Try out this pregnancy-safe cardio workout from The Perfect Pregnancy Fitness Plan and see how you feel during it. If you keep the intervals between sets to 30 seconds or less you will be doing a perfect prenatal HIIT workout.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are pregnant and working out. Learn exactly how to exercise safely during pregnancy (plus learn the life-altering benefits of prenatal exercise for the baby.)

First of all, your body is going through a lot of changes. Your ligaments are loosening, your center of gravity is shifting, and your breasts are growing.

All of these changes can make you more prone to injury. So be sure to take things slowly at first, listen to your body, and focus on proper form.

If you are feeling dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded at any point during your workout, stop and rest. It is always of the utmost importance to listen to your body when exercising during pregnancy. If it doesn’t feel right, stop.


Is HIIT Training Safe During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?

In the first trimester, your energy levels might be lower than usual, so it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. On the other hand, the first trimester is the time when you don’t really need to modify your workouts.

In most cases, it is ok to continue working out in whatever manner you are used to during your first trimester without additional modifications.

HIIT workouts are actually my favorites for when I am feeling exhausted though because they are so quick. Even though your intensity is at a high level, it’s pretty easy to convince yourself to keep pushing as you watch the clock run out of time. Even if you are exercising in 45-second intervals once you start a new exercise, you are virtually already finished.

Plus after completing a HIIT workout you can feel a burst of energy and endorphins. For these reasons, I find HIIT to be a perfect exercise for the first trimester of pregnancy.

I am so glad that the prenatal fitness and nutrition plan that I follow, The Perfect Pregnancy Plan, has some amazing HIIT workouts included in it.


prenatal nutrition and fitness


Is HIIT Training Safe During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy?

The second trimester is often when women feel their best during pregnancy. This is when you might start to feel more like your old self again and have more energy. You also aren’t typically too big and off-balance yet.

So if you are feeling up for it, HIIT workouts can be a great way to stay active during your pregnancy through the second trimester. Just remember to listen to your body and take things slowly at first.

It is very important to remember that you can modify any workout so that you can continue it throughout your pregnancy. You can easily modify any HIIT workout by changing up the intervals of workout time vs. rest time by lessening how long you are doing an exercise and increasing the rest between sets.

You can also lower the intensity of certain HIIT moves within a workout by removing jumping or using other modifications. The important thing is to keep up with a prenatal workout plan during pregnancy however you can to benefit your baby for their entire lives. (That post also details all the benefits of prenatal workouts for mom and baby. It really is astounding.)


Is HIIT Training Safe During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy?

As you enter the third trimester, your belly is going to start to grow and you might start to feel more sluggish. At this point in your pregnancy, it is important to focus on low-impact workouts and avoid anything that could put unnecessary stress on your body.

This is also when you will have the most aches and pains. Fortunately, The Perfect Pregnancy Fitness Plan is specifically designed to help lessen all common pregnancy aches and pains by addressing them before they become an issue.

While HIIT workouts are generally safe during pregnancy, they might not be the best choice for you in the third trimester. Instead, focus on gentle exercises like walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga.

RELATED: How to Exercise in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy


Who Should Avoid HIIT Training During Pregnancy?

There are a few women who should avoid HIIT training during pregnancy. If you have any medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.

Additionally, if you have any complications during your pregnancy, such as placenta previa or bleeding, you should avoid HIIT workouts and stick to lower-impact exercises.

And finally, if you are feeling too exhausted or are having a hard time keeping up with your normal routine, it is probably best to scale back the intensity of your workouts and take it easy.


How to Adapt HIIT Training for Pregnancy

If you want to participate in HIIT training during your pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to make it more pregnancy-friendly. The secret to keeping up with any type of training you want during pregnancy?


Do not be afraid to modify any and all workouts while pregnant. The key is to keep moving and continue your prenatal workout plan as long as possible. Some easy ways to modify HIIT workouts for pregnancy are:

  • lowering the intensity of your exertion
  • exchanging some moves for others
  • doing a modified version of a certain move
  • shortening the time of all-out exertion of each exercise
  • lengthening the recovery period between sets (do not be afraid to take extra or longer breaks while exercising during pregnancy, it’s actually a good thing and very much required)

Modification gives you the ability to push harder and longer with your workout routine over the long haul. It helps you keep proper form and lessens the chance of injury.


Wrapping Up Is HIIT Training Safe During Pregnancy?

HIIT workouts can be a great way to stay active during your pregnancy, as long as you take things slowly at first and listen to your body. It is always best to check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program, especially if you have any medical conditions or complications.

HIIT training is ideal for most women for the first and second trimesters of their pregnancies, the third trimester is a great time to scale back on this type of workout.

If you want to learn more about how to stay fit during pregnancy, be sure to check out the Perfect Pregnancy Fitness Plan.


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