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Pregnancy exercise plan – 6th month

As you are coming to the end of your second trimester, things are probably feeling very real; your body is changing and your bump is probably more noticeable. 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 unless and should be aiming for at least 150 minutes, 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.


Star steps

How to

  1. Stand tall and shift your weight to one leg and tap the opposite leg out to the side while raising both arms in the air.
  2. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Why this exercise?

Star steps can impove your cardiovascular health while remaing low impact so are perfect for a pregnancy friendly workout.

Remember!

These can be done at a slower pace when needed or can be done more energetically when you feel up to it.


Cat Cow

How to

  1. Get into a box position with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Inhale, arching your back into a Cow pose.
  3. Exhale, rounding your spine and tilting your pelvis into a Cat pose.

Why this exercise?

As the baby bump grows, it can put strain on the lower back. Cat-Cow helps in stretching and strengthening the muscles around the spine, potentially easing back pain.

Remember!

Avoid leaning forward or arching your back excessively while doing Warrior 3.


Lunges with knee lift

How to

  1. Take a step back with your right foot, bending both knees as you lower your body.
  2. Keep your back straight, your chest lifted, and aim for a 90-degree angle at both knees or as deep as is comfortable for you.
  3. Exhale as you push off your back foot to return to standing and lift your right knee towards your chest then lower it down to the standing.

Why this exercise?

Pregnancy can affect your center of gravity. Performing lunges as part of your pregnancy workout programme can help improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls.

Remember!

Ensure your front knee is aligned with your ankle and doesn’t extend past your toes.

Want to make it harder?

You can use a chair or wall for support if needed.


Standing 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 right 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 left elbow.
  5. Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner to avoid jerky movements.
Pregnant lady doing Standing 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 crunches can be too much for your abs but standing crunches help maintain your core muscles, which can alleviate back pain and improve posture right through the third trimester.


Incline press ups

How to

  1. Find a sturdy surface like a countertop or chest of drawers.
  2. Stand facing the surface, about arm’s length away, and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface. Your body should be in a diagonal line from your head to your heels.
  3. Lower your chest towards your hands by bending your elbows. Keep your body in a straight line throughout the movement.
  4. Press through your palms to straighten your arms and return to the starting position.

Want to make it harder?

You can add a band for added resistance as in the video.


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
What is doming?