Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your workout and exercise regime! There are a multitude of ways to stay active during these exciting nine + months, which can also help prepare you for labor and beyond. It only takes certain modifications of exercises that you already know and love. With each trimester, your body goes through new changes, and it is important to track and listen to your body to figure out what feels best in terms of a workout routine or movement in general. But, have no fear, this is more than doable, especially with the multitude of fitness resources for the mamas to be.
The first trimester of pregnancy should be focused on doing whatever your energy level (and nausea) is able to deal with. If you are experiencing morning sickness (which can strike any time of day) try drinking Recoup. It has a clinically proven dose of ginger to combat pregnancy-induced nausea.
This is not the time to see how much weight you can lift or how many miles you can run.. For all three trimesters focusing on low-impact exercises such as walking (get in those hot girl walks), swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and Pilates are perfect and always something you can return to. But, in your first trimester, if you had already been exercising previously you are welcome to continue doing that routine as long as your body is feeling up for it! (Excluding of course, full-contact sports and other high-risk activities.) You should also avoid yoga poses and stretches that involve twisting your abdomen. During this time you can integrate activities such as a daily kegel routine which can be conducted throughout all nine months. Pilates is a great option to build core strength and increase your balance which can be super helpful as your pregnancy progresses.
Pregnancy and Postpartum TV offers some great, free videos on youtube to follow for Pilates!
Most of the exercises that you loved for the first trimester can follow you into the second, but this is usually when you start feeling a bit better and therefore can push yourself just a bit more. For the walking, you can boost it up by walking on an incline instead, following the trend of 12, 3, 30 (12 incline, 3 speed, 30 minutes), or even do a brisk walk with weights. Swimming is another great option for cardio during this time! If you want to integrate some weight and strength training that can be a fantastic way to challenge your body (SAFELY) by using lighter weights and higher repetitions. Exercises such as sumo squats, shoulder presses, standing leg lifts, and curtsy lunges can help build strength without too much strain. After 20 weeks it is advised to not spend too much time on your back due to blood flow concerns. Avoid any activity that would increase your risk of falling! Keep those rollerblades in the closet.
With your increase in strength in the first and second trimester, the third trimester is the perfect time to work on stretching and lengthening. Prenatal yoga is super beneficial during this time and there are a lot of different resources for follow-along workouts of this kind. This includes positions like warrior two, seated figure four, cat and cow pose, and bird dog. In addition, water aerobics is great because it takes some pressure off of your body during this particularly physically taxing time. Pelvic floor strengthening workouts, like bird dogs and bridges, can also help you prepare for birth during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. You want to ensure you are not straining your abdominal muscles too much in these exercises.
Fourth Trimester (Post Partum)
This is the time to be as gentle as possible with your body. Rest and recovery should be the main priority. It is CRUCIAL to listen to your body during this time and when you can resume physical activity. When you are ready to get up and move, it is good to focus on your breathing. There are tons of breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, that you can do to strengthen your core muscles and pelvic floor. Other exercises with your upper body can be done with light weights such as bent-over rows, planks using a wall, and cat-cow stretches. Lower body exercises such as bridges and wall sits can also be good introductions back into movement but always listen to your body.
Workout Apps That Support
Many new apps have made pregnancy workouts easier and more accessible. With so many options, there is something for everyone to enjoy: yoga, Pilates, different walking workouts, running, strength training and so much more. These are some of the many apps that are designed to help pregnant women to safely exercise.
The Bloom Method (thebloommethod) is an app that crafts and chooses workouts for pregnant women from nearly 350 options to support them during each phase of their pregnancy. With options for preparing for birth to pelvic floor exercises, users can decide which type of workout or part of the body they would like to focus on building strength in.
The Every Mother app and website has exercise plans (monthly or annual) for all of the different issues that can arise during pregnancy such as diastasis recti, incontinence, and pelvic pain. In addition, they have designated workouts for both during and after pregnancy.
The Baby2Body app is a coaching app that expands outside of just exercise for mamas-to-be and includes lifestyle tips, nutrition tips and mental health tips to support mothers during this period of their life. It includes safe exercises with demonstrations as well as access to resources to track this progress as you move through each trimester.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any of these exercises to ensure that your body and baby can handle them. Always listen to your body and do not conduct any exercises that create discomfort. You should not be pushing yourself past your limits. For each of these different types of movement, you want to ensure that you are moving in a way that feels good for YOUR body.