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Pregnancy exercise guidelines – first trimester

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now, let’s talk exercise guidelines for the first trimester. I know, I know—between the aversions and the fatigue, the last thing you might be thinking about is hitting the gym. But fear not, because I’ve got your back (and your baby bump!) with some guidelines for exercising in your first trimester that’ll keep you feeling fantastic, and you don’t even have to go to the gym!

Before we get on to the pregnancy exercise guidelines, I thought I would share my experience of exercising in the first trimester and beyond. Some people stop exercising when they get pregnant, but instead I used my pregnancy as motivation to exercise and I can honestly say that I have never been more committed to exercise than during my pregnancies. As soon as I read that exercising during pregnancy can reduce the risk of your baby being overweight or obese and developing type two diabetes in later life, I was sold! I was no longer exercising for vague reasons related to looking better, I was doing it for my baby’s future health. That was enough to get me to roll out of bed in the morning and do The Mama Plan in my pjs next to the bed.

Now for the guidelines for exercising during your first trimester:

  • Do listen to your body: Your body is now a cosy home for that tiny human, and it’s sending you signals 24/7. Pay attention! If you’re feeling tired, take a break. If you’re bursting with energy, have fun and enjoy your workout! Your body knows best, so tune in and groove to its rhythm.
  • Do chat with your doc: If you are experiencing any of these problems or have any other concerns in relation to exercising while pregnant, speak to your midwife or consultant. This along with the previous guideline are the most important guidelines related to fitness.
  • Do stick to the familiar: If you were active before pregnancy, no need to hang up your gym kit just yet! In your first trimester it is safe to continue with your pre-pregnancy exercise routine. Your body will thank you for the familiar movements and routines.
  • Consider pregnancy yoga: Time to channel your inner yogi! Pregnancy yoga is a gentle way to build strength, flexibility, and balance. So grab that yoga mat and let the zen vibes flow.
  • Do increase those steps: You don’t need a treadmill to get moving. Lace up those comfy trainers, pop on your favourite podcast and hit the streets! Walking is a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the joints and perfect for maintaining that pregnancy glow. Plus, it’s a great excuse to explore your neighbourhood.
  • Do bodyweight exercises to strengthen your core: Now is a great time to build up strength in your core. You can make up your own core workout with exercises such as deadbug, plank and squats or check out this workout which is safe for the first trimester.
  • Consider swimming regularly: Throw your bikini on and dive into the pool! Swimming is a fantastic way to stay active without putting too much strain on your joints plus you can close your eyes and pretend you are on holiday, floating in an infinity pool in Bali… bliss!
  • Do pelvic floor strengthening exercises: Boost pelvic muscle resilience with daily exercises. Do 10 kegels, three times a day to prevent weakening of your pelvic floor muscles later in pregnancy. I like to do them when I’m brushing my teeth morning and night and as part of my daily exercise.
  • Do focus on hydration: Sip, sip, hooray! Staying hydrated is crucial during pregnancy. It helps regulate body temperature, supports the baby’s development, and keeps you feeling more energized. So keep that water bottle close-your body and your baby will thank you.
  • Moderation is key: While you may be tempted to kick it up a notch with a new, intense workout regime, it’s best to resist the urge. The first trimester is a time of rapid changes, and your body is working hard behind the scenes. Opt for moderate-intensity workouts that keep your heart pumping but won’t leave you gasping for breath.
  • Do listen to your joints: Pregnancy hormones are loosening up those ligaments to prepare for the giving birth. So, be kind to your joints. Avoid high-impact activities that might put too much stress on your knees and hips. Low-impact exercises like elliptical training or stationary biking can be your joints’ new best friends.
  • Snack smart: When the hunger pangs strike, snack like a pro. Where possible opt for nutrient-dense goodies like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These snacks will keep your energy levels stable and help you power through your workouts. That said, do listen to your body, my body ‘needed’ jelly tots by the share bag in my first trimester 🤩

Remember, this journey is all about you and your baby. So let’s make this first trimester a fit and fabulous one. Cheers (with some a hydrating glass of iced water!) to the glow, the grow, and the incredible adventure ahead! 💪🤰