No doubt, if you’re in your second trimester, you’ve had your first pregnancy scan, you’ve found out that everything’s fine with your growing baby, and you now want to know what exercise is safe and what isn’t safe to do during pregnancy.
In your second trimester, although you may not start to “show” until your 20th week or so (others will find it’s much earlier), you need to bear in mind that your foetus may now be out of your pelvis, so certain considerations do need to be made to your exercise program.
Below are my top 5 tips for exercising throughout your second trimester (13-28 weeks):
1. ALTER YOUR ABDOMINAL EXERCISES
Swap your ab program to a Pilates one instead.
Pilates-based exercise is the best form of exercise for pregnant and postnatal women to be doing, due to its focus on pelvic floor and abdominal connection.
If you weren’t aware, every exercise in Pilates has a core focus to it, and what’s great is every time you work your core your pelvic floor gets a workout, and vice versa.
Pilates is a bit like a “two for the price of one” exercise, really, and it makes it a perfect form of exercise to do for pregnant women.
2. DECREASE THE REPS
If you’re used to weight training prior to pregnancy, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to use weights during pregnancy.
You’ll need to use your own judgement on whether to decrease the weights, and I’d also advice that you start to decrease the rep range too.
So, if you were used to doing 16 reps in your first trimester, consider dropping it to 12 reps in your second trimester.
Remember, you need strong arms and legs not just for pregnancy, but postnatally too.
- Do you have a friend who’s had a baby recently?
- How much did their baby weigh?
- How much does a six month old weigh?
- Have you weighed a new mum’s change bag or car seat?
These are heavy objects, and if your arms aren’t strong, sure enough, other muscles will kick in to help stabilise and lift, which can lead to muscular imbalances and postural problems.
3. TAKE OUT THE IMPACT
Once you hit your 13th week of pregnancy, you’ll also want to take the impact out of your exercise routine.
If you’re used to doing aerobics for example, stick to low-impact moves. Low-impact means where one foot is always on the floor. Marching on the spot is low impact, jogging on the spot it high impact, for example.
Don’t perform any side steps wider than shoulder distance apart, because you want to avoid putting too much pressure on your unstable pelvis.
Also avoid any heavy thrusting/twisting movements to your pelvis too eg hula hooping or some latin-based dance movements where you’re encouraged to “pop” your hip forwards. This is most unsuitable for a pregnant (or postnatal!) pelvis.
4. LYING ON YOUR FRONT
Because your foetus is now out of your pelvis, lying on your front may not be inappropriate, not just because of your baby bump, but also due to pressure being placed on your sensitive breasts.
I’d suggest all pregnant clients at 13 weeks do an alternative exercise to front-lying.
As an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert who’s also Pilates-trained, there are literally hundreds of alternative exercises for pregnant women to do in a hands and knees position. It just takes a bit of consideration and imagination on the lesson plan.
5. LYING ON YOUR BACK
Supine Hypotensive Syndrome affects some women during pregnancy.
This is where the weight of your developing foetus puts pressure on the main artery which returns blood back to your heart, which in turn can stop blood flow to your baby too.
You could put a pillow or towel under your head and shoulders to lift your head above your heart to exercise on your back. I tend to take all pregnant women off their back after 13 weeks though, and I also move my participants around from one position to another, every few minutes, just to avoid blood pooling.
And there you have it – my top 5 tips for exercising during your second trimester.
Look out for my next blog top tips relating to exercising throughout your third trimester.
Any questions, do ask. I’m only too happy to help.
Bump to Babe Pregnancy Pilates Classes are specific antenatal Pilates classes for mums-to-be who want a more slow-controlled approach to exercise.
Pregnancy Pilates is a great workout for expectant mums at any stage in their pregnancy, it isn’t jumpy, it isn’t high-impact – it’s slow and controlled, and it has a lovely calming effect.