Now, let’s talk about guidelines for pregnancy exercise. Hopefully any morning sickness and fatigue has passed now and you are beginning to feel a bit more like. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to get moving and do short workouts every day.
Before we get on to the pregnancy exercise guidelines, I thought I would share my experience of exercising while I was pregnant. Some people stop exercising as soon as they get a positive test, 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 fitness in your second trimester:
- Do listen to your body: In the second trimester, tune in to your body’s cues – rest when needed, stay active if energised, and prioritise self-care while you are not yet on 24 hour call to a newborn!
- 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 exercising while pregnant.
- Avoid the supine position for prolonged periods: This is probably the biggest change from the first trimester. Avoid exercising while lying on your back to prevent the baby’s weight from compressing the vena cava, the main vein that returns blood to the heart. If you wake up on your back it isn’t anything to be worried about (our bodies are very clever and will wake us up before any harm is done), but where possible try not to spend extended period of time on your back from the second trimester.
- Consider pregnancy yoga: Time to channel your inner yogi! Pregnancy yoga is not only a gentle way to build strength and flexibility but also to meet other people and build a bit of a community for mat leave. 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 standing crunches, plank and lunges or check out this workout which is safe for the second trimester.
- Consider swimming regularly: Show off your bump in a bikini and jump 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 the Caribbean… bliss!
- Do pelvic floor strengthening exercises: Boost pelvic muscle resilience with daily exercises. Do 10 kegels, three times a day to combat the extra weight on 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 energised. So keep that water bottle close – your body and your baby will thank you.
- Refrain from high impact exercises and listen to your joints: While you may be tempted to kick it up a notch now that you have left the dreaded first trimester, it’s best to resist the urge. Pregnancy hormones are loosening up those ligaments to prepare for giving birth. So, be kind to your joints. Avoid high-impact activities that might put too much stress on your knees and hips. Opt for low impact activities that are kind on your joints but keep your heart pumping such as star steps or cycling.
- 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 and these guidelines are here to keep you both safe while exercising. So let’s make this 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! 💪🤰