So exercise may be the last thing on your mind right now, but it can help to combat sickness, tiredness and fatigue.
I remember those first few months and I did wonder whether I would be able to continue with any sort of exercise when every time I moved I wanted to throw up!
With a little encouragement from my inner body, reminding me of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, I decided to see how it would make me feel.
To my surprise I did actually feel better on the days I exercised than the days I didn’t. I developed a programme that was lower intensity than my usual workouts and started to focus on key areas that would help me make it through the next 9 months. If you don’t feel bad, then there’s no reason why you can’t carry on as you were before you were pregnant, providing there are no contraindications. For me I found I was out of breath very quickly, so I was sensible in what I was doing.
I only worked out on days when I didn’t already feel exhausted (and there were a lot of these!) and I listened to my body. When an exercise felt too much then I stopped or I picked a lower intensity option. I cannot emphasise how important this is for you. Some other things I paid particular attention to were:
- Staying cool – making sure I didn’t over heat
- Staying hydrated
- Ensuring I could still talk when exercising
- Working to an appropriate intensity – no longer working to exhaustion!
- Lowering the impact of certain exercises
- Going easy on days when I didn’t feel too great
If you’re already a keen exerciser and want to keep up the good work, then try this workout to help you through your first trimester.
Exercise programme for trimester 1
Warm-up (this should always last 10 minutes and include dynamic stretches)
I used a mixture of jogging, rowing, cross trainer, cycle etc.
Dynamic stretches included:
Arm circles, squats with overhead reach, alternating calf stretches, butt kicks, touching floor with straight legs and then reaching up high etc.
This would always last around 30 mins, depending on how much energy I had that particular day. I would either cycle on my indoor spinning bike, row or take a gentle jog around the woods.
As an instructor I was still using my aerobics class as one of my workouts each week. I ALWAYS took the lower impact options. This is important and if you’re taking part in group exercise class it’s important to let the instructor know you are pregnant. They will be discreet and you can always ‘fake’ an injury if you don’t want the rest of the class to know.
In all my workouts I wore a heart rate monitor to track my heart rate and I made sure I could always talk.
If you’re in a gym then you could also try the cross trainer, rower, treadmill, upright cycle, recumbent cycle and the stepper (1st and 2nd trimester only).
To ensure I kept my body strong I always carried out a resistance section, working on those necessary muscle groups required to take the weight of the ever-increasing bump!
Each exercise would last 3 sets and be made up of 12-15 reps per set.
REMEMBER: we are not looking for any improvements in muscular strength or gain. This is about MAINTAINING our fitness.
Some of the exercises I used were:
Lower body – Squats, Lunges and Calf raises.
Upper body – Internal and external shoulder rotations, Shoulder press, Lat pulldowns, Chest press, Seated row, Tricep extensions, Bicep curl, Bent over row and Lateral raises.
I used a variety of resistance bands and weights, making sure I had not increased the intensity prior to becoming pregnant.
(check out blog on why it’s key to strengthen and lengthen specific muscles throughout pregnancy)
This trimester is the last time you’ll really be able to lie on your back. I made sure that my focus was on my TVA and helping to stabilise the spine. By doing this it can help to reduce rectus diastasis also.
Some of the exercises I used for this section were:
- Modified abdominal curl.
- 4 point kneeling arm/leg extensions.
- Woodchop using a resistance band.
- I also practiced abdominal hollowing to really work the TVA.
I did 3 sets of each with 12-15 reps.
- Supine pelvic tilts
- Fast and slow contraction pelvic floor exercises
All day everyday! As many as you remember to do before the muscles become exhausted. Try and do 3 times a day (check out the pelvic floor blog for proper form and extra information).
Cool down (should always last 5-10 minutes and include static stretches)
I would take a little walk for 5 minutes if outside or pop on a treadmill, but again use whatever CV equipment as above.
- Seated abductor stretch
- Standing calf stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Standing quadriceps stretch
- Standing lat stretch
- Standing chest stretch
- Standing hip flexor stretch
I found my balance was still quite good throughout the first trimester, but if you find you wobble a bit then simply perform the exercises seated or supported by a wall.
So that’s trimester 1 sorted! Remember to listen to your body, talk to your GP for approval to start an exercise programme and keep your heart rate at a point where you can still talk.
This programme is for pregnant ladies who were already active going into their pregnancies.
For more information or guidance on your amazing journey, then why not try one of the pre/post natal exercise packages or a couple of one off personal training sessions. Contact Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07557 375769
There are plenty of blogs for pregnancy – just check out the blog section on the website.