Have A Healthy First Trimester With These Prenatal Workouts

by Trina Remedios

The positive sign on your pregnancy test can bring such joy to couples or single moms who are ready to embark upon this new journey. But, just as you're reeling in the news, the body develops a mind of its own, bringing with it some morning sickness, feeling of exhaustion, tender breasts, loss of bladder control, and the obvious weight gain. All part of being a new mom, don't let these manifestations alarm you. Just know that, this too shall pass, and until then can be managed with some tender loving care you owe yourself when you're pregnant. Considering you're not carrying heavy yet, many doctors recommend light workouts to help keep the body limber, improve its coping abilities, regulate breathing, and prevent cramps and aches. Now, unless your OB/GYN raises red flags about physical activity, we suggest you have talk to them about engaging in light workouts to support your pregnant frame. Typically, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Consult your doctor about the choice of exercise program you wish to undertake during the first trimester. Get specific, ie a 45-minute Pilates class in the morning/night under the supervision of a trainer, using mat/reformer machine as a base instrument.
  • If you've never worked out in the recent past, begin with low exertion exercises for just 30 minutes a day.
  • Preferably, reach out to a trainer who has experience working with pregnant women.

Exercising during the first trimester cuts the risk of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other complications during delivery. That said, it is absolutely natural to gain 2lb-4lb in the first three months. Light workouts will help ease pregnancy symptoms. 

Colleen Flaherty, the creator of Pregnancy Functional Strength Guides for Coaches and Women tells you when to stop. "Avoidance of activity in the first trimester rests on how the woman is feeling. Many women feel extremely tired, have nausea, or get light-headed. They need to listen to their bodies and take rest as needed. Exercise can help resolve your issues only if you don't push your limits. The body is undergoing major internal growth in the first trimester so high protein foods, continued intake of calories, and proper hydration are necessary to fuel this expansion."

Exercise Programs That Are Safe For The First Trimester

  • Pilates: Sign-up for a prenatal Pilates class which can be made a weekly ritual. The workout helps improve your balance and strengthens the lower back. Considering prenatal Pilates focuses on building core strength, this will really enable your body to stay balanced while its center of gravity is shifting to accomodate your new proportions.
  • Yoga: A daily 30-minute session of prenatal yoga is your ticket to good health, and the baby's, too. The asanas strengthen your body to carry the excess weight, improve your sense of balance, keep your muscles flexible, stabilize your blood pressure, and teach you to breathe right and stay calm, right through to delivery.
  • Stationary Bike: For gym regulars, 30-60 minutes of cycling about two to three times a week is a good resolve as it cuts the risk of obesity, improves core strength, uplifts your mood, enhances the quality of sleep, helps develop balance, and gets your heart rate going. Always consult a trainer, adjust the handlebars, and preferably use a recumbent bike (the one with back support). Resistance levels are a no-go, and perhaps you could use the pre-programmed workout selection that's based on you heart rate to keep tabs on your pulse.
  • Weight Training: An usual but recommended workout move is to lift light weights during pregnancy, simply to build strength in your body which will have to take the additional load of the growing fetus in the coming months. Twice a week under the supervision of a trainer, light weight muscle training is a good idea for the first trimester.

A Note To The Already Active
Certified prenatal trainer Amanda Dale points out that if you exercised before your pregnancy, then continue with the same activity through the first three months. "No matter which trimester, your exercise program during pregnancy should follow your exercise patterns pre-conception. So, for example, if you were a marathoner when you got pregnant, you can keep running during T1, but if you've never run a step in your life, now is not the time to start. Walking, swimming, and cycling, all with adequate warm-ups (10 minutes recommended), proper climate control (meaning not too hot!), proper hydration (before, during and after), and time not exceeding 60 minutes is absolutely safe at this stage, according to a recent review by Nascimento et al (2012)."

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