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Pregnancy exercise plan – 1st month

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Your first trimester is the start of your pregnancy journey and it can all feel very new and daunting. The good news is that, in terms of exercise you can basically carry on as normal unless you have been advised otherwise by your doctor, however, do check my guide about when to avoid exercise during pregnancy. As it is still early days, now is not the time to start an intense new exercise plan, so if you haven’t been exercising recently, take it easy for the next couple of months. Start by gently upping your step count and being generally being more active.

This is a great full-body workout for when you are in your first trimester and you can do it at home or at the gym. All you need to do this pregnancy workout is your stopwatch app, alternatively you can skip the faff and do it directly through the No Sweat Mama App.

Do each exercise for 45 seconds followed by a 15-second rest, once you have finished the first set, repeat it a further 3 times.


Squat kicks

How to

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward.
  2. Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes.
  3. Push through your feet to return to standing and kick one leg in front of you. Keep the movement controlled and within a comfortable range of motion.
  4. Repeat squat and then kick with the other foot.
Pregnant lady doing Squat kicks on yoga mat in front of large window to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Squat kicks are a great way to maintain cardiovascular fitness during pregnancy without pushing your self too much.

Remember!

Maintain good posture: Keep your chest up, shoulders back, engage your core and keep your knees behind your toes.

Want to make it harder?

The deeper you squat, the harder the exercise will be.


Curtsy lunges

How to

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders relaxed, and core engaged.
  2. Take a step back diagonally behind your front leg, similar to performing a curtsy. Keep your toes pointing slightly outward.
  3. Lower your body by bending both knees. Ensure that your front knee is aligned with your ankle and does not go past your toes. Aim to create a 90-degree angle with both knees.
  4. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position. Exhale as you rise.
Pregnant lady doing Curtsy lunges on yoga mat in sunny garden to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Curtsy lunges help strengthen your lower body, especially in your glutes, quads, and hips. They also improve your stability and balance which are super important as your pregnancy progresses.

Remember!

Maintain a straight and upright posture throughout the movement.


Box tricep dips

How to

  1. Sit on the edge of the box with your hands placed next to your hips, fingers facing forward.
  2. Walk your feet out a few steps while keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your body. Go down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push back up through your palms to the starting position.
Pregnant lady doing Box tricep dips on yoga mat in sunny garden to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Tricep dips are functional exercises because they mimic movements like pushing up from a seated position or lifting yourself out of a bathtub so they can assist you in your day-to-day activities.

Remember!

Keep your hips still and focus on only allowing movement to come from your triceps.


Knee tucks

How to

  1. Sit with your legs bent in front of you, engage your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight.
  2. Lean back on your elbows and raise your feet off the floor.
  3. Slowly straighten both legs so they are a few inches off the floor.
  4. Bring them back into a tuck position.
Pregnant lady doing Knee tucks on yoga mat in front of wooden doors to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy. Strengthening your core muscles with exercises like knee tucks can help prevent or minimize this separation.

Remember!

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise.

Want to make it harder?

To make it harder bring your legs as close to the floor as possible.


Back raises

How to

  1. Start by lying face down on the floor with your hands on the sides of your head, behind your ears, and your legs straight.
  2. Engage your core and slowly lift your upper body off the floor, using the muscles in your lower back and glutes.
  3. Slowly lower your upper body back down to the starting position.
Pregnant lady doing Back raises on yoga mat in front of wooden doors to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Back raises help improve posture and reduce the risk of lower back pain during pregnancy. They also engage your core muscles, helping to improve overall core stability and balance which is important generally but especially during pregnancy.

Remember!

Keep your neck in line with your spine, and avoid straining your neck by looking up or down.

Want to make it harder?

As you lift your upper body, squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement to engage them fully.


Kegels

How to

  1. The first step is to identify your pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way to do this is imagine you are stopping the flow of urine midstream. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.
  2. To do a kegel, contract your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a lifting sensation in your pelvic area.
  3. Hold the contraction for about 5 seconds (or as long as you can comfortably) and then release. Rest for about 5 seconds between contractions.
  4. Aim to do 10 kegels, 3 times a day if you are pregnant. The best way to remember is to link it to a habit you are already doing e.g., once after you workout, then when you brush your teeth morning and evening.

Why this exercise?

Pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles due to the added pressure from the growing uterus. Kegels can help strengthen these muscles, providing support to your pelvic organs and reducing the risk of complications like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Remember!

Prevention is better than cure so even if you are not struggling with incontinence so far in your pregnancy, it is still super important that you do your Kegels because they will prevent problems further down your pregnancy or after you give birth.

Want to make it harder?

Add pre-tension by putting something between your knees (can be literally anything, a pair of socks or a rolled up towel work well) and squeeze your knees together. Then engage your core by making a ‘sssss’ sound. Now hold this slight tension for the duration of the exercise.


One thing to note

You should be aiming to do 150 minutes of activity per week during your pregnancy. Ideally this would be in the form of 20 minute workouts each day rather than one or two very intense sessions and the pregnancy workout above is ideal for the first trimester. Having your workouts scheduled and getting into a routine of doing them at the same time means you don’t have to rely on discipline each day and are far more likely to stay active for the duration of your pregnancy.

As you progress into your second trimester (week 13 to week 28), remember always listen to your body. The goal is to stay active, stay safe, and stay connected to your body’s needs.

Related articles

Pregnancy and nutrition guidelines
What is a kegel and how to do them
What is doming?