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Pregnancy exercise plan – 4th month

You’re officially in the second trimester of your pregnancy journey!

Things are probably feeling very real; your body is changing and your bump may be starting to show. If you felt drained of energy in your first triemester, the good news is that your shoud start feeling more like yourself going forwards. From now on you need to avoid being on your back for any extended periods of time. You may also find that you are beginning to tire more quickly so you need to start to regress your workouts until you give birth. Bearing these in mind however, you can still exercise regularly and should be aiming for at least 150 minutes, unless you have been advised not to by your consultant.

This is a great full body workout for when you are in your second 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.


Front crawl

How to

Pregnant lady doing Front crawl to keep fit during pregnancy

Standing bicycle crunches

How to

  1. Place your hands lightly behind your head, with your elbows pointing outwards.
  2. Lift your right knee while simultaneously bringing your left elbow towards it, aiming to touch or come close to it.
  3. As you do this, keep your chest lifted, and avoid rounding your back.
  4. Lower your right foot back to the ground and switch to your left knee and right elbow.
  5. Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner to avoid jerky movements.
Pregnant lady doing Standing bicycle crunches to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Pregnancy places extra strain on your abdominal muscles and back. Towards the end of pregnancy, normal bicycle crunches can be too much for your abs but standing bicycle crunches help maintain your core muscles, which can alleviate back pain and improve posture right through the third trimester.

Remember!

Focus on bringing your knee up to join your arms, rather than the other way round.


Squats

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 were sitting in a chair. Ensure your knees don’t go in front of your toes.
  3. Push through your feet to return to standing.

Remember!

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

Want to make it harder?

The deeper you squat, the harder the exercise will be. Add a resistance band around your thighs to further increase the intensity.


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.


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

Now that you are in your second trimester you will begin to find exercises that you don’t feel comfortable doing anymore, such as high impact exercises and those that involve you lying on your back for extended periods.

You should be aiming to do 150 minutes of low impact activity per week during your second trimester. 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 second trimester. Having your workouts scheduled for you 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 remainder of your pregnancy.

As you progress into the third trimester (week 29 to week 40), 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
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