Clients often ask me:
“Can I exercise in the first trimester?”
“Is exercise safe during the first 12 weeks?”.
The simple answer to this question is most definitely YES!
In fact, there are very few exercises that you can’t continue doing in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. So, if you have a friend who’s just found out she’s pregnant, why not pass this info on to her, as I’m sure it would help ease her mind.
If you do no exercise for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, you’ll probably feel more tired, your fitness levels will drop and chances are you’ll feel sluggish and uncomfortable.
There are number of points to raise and a few myths I’d like to dispel about exercising in your first trimester, so here goes:
1. CARRY ON AS NORMAL
Ok, so you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant, and you’re really not sure if you should stop exercising altogether during your first 12 weeks. You also have no idea what changes need to made to your exercise program.
Well, as an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert, I’d suggest that you carry on as normal throughout your first trimester.
So, if you regularly swim, jog, walk, go to the gym, do a fitness class or play a sport, carry on as normal.
Too many of my clients put their feet up for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, only to find out that when they join my pregnancy fitness/Pilates classes, that their fitness levels have dropped dramatically, so, my suggestion would be to “carry on as normal” – you’re doing exercise to not just benefit you, but also your unborn baby too.
2. STAY HYDRATED
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your intake of water whilst exercising throughout your first trimester should increase, so make sure you have a bottle of water handy.
Taking frequent sips of water, rather than downing half a litre in one swoop might be better though, so always have a water bottle on your desk, in your bag, or a pint glass on the kitchen bench waiting to be filled up every time you walk into the kitchen.
You’ll notice that trips to the loo will be more frequent in the first 12 weeks, and I understand how time-consuming and inconvenient this can be, but you must stay hydrated.
Drinking water helps flush out toxins in your system, so take a sip of water now, whilst you’re reading this.
3. EXERCISE AND MISCARRIAGE
I’m here to tell you that there is no research to suggest that exercising during your first trimester has been linked to miscarriage. I fully appreciate that this is something that no woman wants to experience herself, but as an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert, I’m here to tell you that exercise doesn’t just benefit you, but it benefits your unborn baby too, so try and stay fit and keep yourself active.
You may find that there are people around you who try and talk you out of exercising now that you’re pregnant. You have to ask yourself “What qualifications does this person have that enables them to give out this advice?”.
If it’s a friend/colleague/neighbour/family member who isn’t trained in Ante/Postnatal exercise, then, your answer should be fairly straightforward.
If you have someone interfering like this in your life, consider referring them to my blog, or even ask them to email or phone me. I’ve had many a conversation with a concerned partner or Mother-in-Law about the benefits of exercise, so don’t be scared to pass their details on to me.
Sometimes, its friends and family who more concerned about exercise, than you are. Try not to let them influence you too much, if you’re a really keen exerciser before you got pregnant, or, if you want to give your unborn baby the best start in life, ok?
4. IVF / HIGH-RISK PREGNANCY
If you’re going through IVF and you’re therefore under Consultant care, I’d suggest that you ask your Dr about their thoughts on exercising whilst you’re going through this treatment.
The decision to undertake exercise whilst going through IVF or similar treatment will be in the hands of your care giver, so it’s best to check with them first, to be on the safe side.
If you’re having what’s termed a “high-risk” pregnancy, because you have an underlying medical condition or pre-existing injury, then exercise during your first trimester may not be suitable either.
But, for the vast majority of pregnant women who are having low-risk or “normal” pregnancies, exercise should form part of their daily routine.
5. FATIGUE / ADEQUATE REST
Nanna naps; getting home from work and collapsing; and zoning out whilst in meetings at work are all too common during the first trimester!
Some of you are SO incredibly fatigued during those first 12 weeks, where you get a sudden rush of hormones into your system, that exercise may not be at the forefront of your mind.
I’d suggest that you try and stay as active as possible by going about your daily exercise regime as normal, but, listen to your body too. So, if you finish work and feel like collapsing, then do this. It’s important that your body gets adequate rest.
It’s all about striking the right balance, isn’t it?
So, if you can’t face the gym in the evening, then go for a walk at lunch time. If you can’t drag yourself out of bed for an early morning workout, consider heading to the gym after work instead.
And there you have it. My top 5 tips for exercising during your first trimester.
So, to summarise, I’d say: carry on with your exercise regime as normal (if you’re having a low-risk pregnancy), drink plenty of water, get adequate rest and listen to your body.
Do what you feel is right, and if you have ANY questions at all, do ask. I’m only too happy to help.
And remember: FITTER MUMS, HAVE FITTER BABIES!