I often get asked, can I work out now that I know I am pregnant? The answer is HECK YES gal! Back in the day, we didn’t really know if it was safe to work out or not while pregnant so women were often told to not exercise if they were not before pregnancy. We now know there are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy and unless you have contraindications (discussed below) then you should be physically active.
That is a hefty list of positives ladies! So let us discuss what exercise looks like in each trimester.
During the first trimester, the biggest factors that come into play are fatigue and “morning sickness”. I put “” around morning sickness because if you are like me, it lasted all day! During this time, you may resume (or start) your normal routine of exercise but just be mindful that you may not be hitting any PR’s. Give yourself grace during this period.
Your baby bump may be getting bigger during this time especially if this is your 2nd, 3rd, or 10th child. With that said, you just have to take care of that bump so you may have to modify contact to the abdomen. For example, burpees or the bar path of a barbell may need to be modified. So instead of doing burpees you may do a step back into a plank position to modify or change your hand hold on the barbell.
You also want to make sure you are NOT HOLDING YOUR BREATH! This breath holding puts increased force down on your pelvic floor and we don’t need that extra stress during this time. Last but not least, half-way through the 2nd trimester you will want to be in a more inclined position instead of flat on your back so you don’t cut off the blood supply.
During the third trimester, you may need to modify your workout purely because you are bigger and more uncomfortable. The weight on your body along with the increased laxity of your joints, thanks Mr. Hormone Relaxin, may just get too uncomfortable. In addition, you may need to modify your intensity of your workouts. Again, no breath holding or lying on your back!
Any other circumstance you have the GO AHEAD to exercise your little heart out!
Just one more note. If you start to feel pain, heaviness, leaking of urine during your workout you may need to change up your workout a tad. Also, avoid overheating your body during this time so hot yoga may not be the exercise of choice.
First off, go check out my previous blog post about Diastasis Recti here. Majority of women have a Diastasis Recti (separation of their abdominal muscles) because they have to make room for the growing baby. When it is concerning is 3+ months postpartum and you continue to have the Diastasis. Some things to be mindful of while pregnant though is decreasing the pressure you are putting on your abdominal wall. For example, a lot of extension exercises increases pressure across your anterior abdominal wall.
Another thought is watching your abdomen for coning/doming during abdominal work. You want to focus on the transverse abdominis muscle control to flatten your abdomen. Again, for additional info look back at the Diastasis Recti post.
If you are like me, I had high hopes to continue to work out while pregnant. Unfortunately, with the all day, everyday throwing up situation and three months of bed rest, it just didn’t pan out the way I wanted. So, if this is you, please do not get discouraged. Even a short little walk around the block is better than nothing. You are doing great mom! Keep growing that baby!
If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram @drtarynkilty, or join our Mighty as a Mother private Facebook Group!