Staying healthy and fit throughout your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for you, your baby and your body.
If you were an active person before falling pregnant then there’s absolutely no harm in keeping those fitness levels up. In fact, having exercise as part of your daily routine is encouraged by doctors and health professionals to prepare you for labour and childbirth and fuel positive health benefits.
Exercising during pregnancy isn’t the right time to push your body to the max; but it’s certainly safe and effective if you know what to avoid and what to focus on.
Keeping your fitness levels up won’t just help with the morning sickness, but it’ll help regulate weight gain, boost your mood and energy levels and get you in shape for childbirth. Following up from these tips to safely exercise during pregnancy, here are a few exercises you can do for each trimester.
First Trimester (Week 1 to Week 12)
You should be aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most or all days of the week. Within the first trimester of pregnancy, energy levels will still feel fairly normal but you want to look for low-impact exercises that reap cardio benefits. Swimming, walking and running are great for the first trimester. Opt for exercises that improve circulation and muscle tone, boost balance and ease lower back pain.
Walking – what our bodies are made to do on a regular basis – is one of the best pregnancy exercises. It’s perfect for those days when you’re not up for too much but still gets your body moving. Jogging and running is ideal for the first trimester too. Consider investing in a treadmill (or hire one which can work out more cost-effective than heading to the gym) for the house so you can workout at home at your own pace. This saves the pressure of making your exercise routine too fast-paced at the gym and offers the comforts of exercising at home. Here’s a few treadmill exercises to get you started.
In the first trimester up the cardio workouts to three times a week. On the other days, focus on weights. Babies are heavy so it’s a great idea to start building strength as early into the pregnancy as possible. The morning sickness tends to creep in at around 6 weeks of being pregnant so you may not be up for running; jogging, walking, swimming and yoga is great around this time. Keep in mind that oxygen levels are deprived from the 8 week mark so you’ll be feeling fatigued, keep fluids up and take small breaks between workouts.
Second Trimester (Week 13 to Week 27)
By the second trimester your sense of balance will be off so avoid any unstable exercises like bike riding. Avoid anything that jerks or twists your body too much as you don’t want to risk any trauma to the abdomen area. Yoga and Pilates are great for the first few weeks within the second trimester and keep up the walking and swimming. If you were comfortably running in the first trimester, it can be continued into the second trimester but you may want to tone it down or stick to slower jogging after a couple of weeks in.
Elliptical trainers are great because they offer a low-impact workout that won’t consist of any bouncing or jarring movements. Whilst they do involve standing for the workouts, holding onto the handlebars will assist in stabilising yourself and will help tone those arms too. These trainers offer a full-body workout utilising both leg and arm movements which is great for getting your body ready for child birth. It’ll boost cardo endurance without pushing your body too much, and you can control the pace to suit how you’re feeling.
Third Trimester (Week 28 to Birth)
From week 28 to birth, slow things down and really listen to your body. If you’ve been comfortable with jogging on the treadmill or using the elliptical trainer, you can continue with the workouts. After a week into the third trimester though it’s best to focus on walking over running. Swimming, yoga and pilates are all still great for this time too.
Strength and cardio are still really important. Stay away from using heavy weights though and laying on your back for long periods of time. Focus on some side-lying exercises that will help to stabilise muscles as well as your glutes, inner thighs and hamstrings. Treadmills, stationary exercise bikes and elliptical trainers are still safe to use if you’re feeling comfortable doing these workouts. Exercising in the third trimester can be difficult for some mums-to-be. Emotions are running high and physical workouts can be exhausting. But sticking to just 20 minutes of exercise a day can strengthen your body and give you a much needed boost of energy – so keep up the healthy habits! Remember; fit mum, healthy baby.
Do you have any tips that worked for you to share? Please comment below.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com