Modify your exercise routine for a healthy pregnancy

During pregnancy, you need to adjust your exercise routine when something isn’t quite right. Modification means adjusting your exercise program to keep it safe and effective. Your baby’s health is your top priority right now, and if adjusting your exercise regimen ensures you have a safe and healthy baby, it’s the only healthy action to take.
You may need to adjust your monthly, weekly, or even daily routine according to your body’s response to both your pregnancy and your exercise routine. Whatever modifications you need to make are unique to you, your chosen form(s) of exercise, and your level of performance in pregnancy.
Exercising during the first trimester of pregnancy (weeks 1-13)
During the first trimester of pregnancy, you will want to continue with whatever physical activity you have been doing. If you are new to exercise, exercise very gently. Either way, consider the following potential adjustments and tips throughout this chapter:

  • If your breasts are sore, have morning sickness (or nausea/vomiting at any time of the day), or if you are very tired, cut back on your routine or stop exercising until you feel better.


  • The first trimester of pregnancy is a good time to start abdominal and pelvic floor exercises. After 12 weeks, you may want to avoid any twisting exercises you do while lying on the floor, although pelvic floor exercises can continue throughout your pregnancy.


  • If you exercised before pregnancy, you will likely be able to wear your sports bras throughout your first trimester. However, you may find that at the end of this chapter, you will need a larger size. If you haven’t yet invested in a good sports bra, go to a sporting goods store, running store, or fitness store and try several until you find one that is comfortable. Don’t buy too much: You’ll get rid of it fast, and because sports bras are made of a quick-drying material, you can wash one or two quickly, as needed, and wear them over and over again.

Your exercise routine in the second trimester (weeks 14-26)
During the second trimester, you may feel better than at any other time during your pregnancy. (If you don’t, that’s fine too.) Keep monitoring your body’s reaction to the exercises, and if you feel comfortable enough to do so, consider increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts. Also consider the following potential tweaks and other tips:

  • At some point during this trimester of pregnancy, you may want to shop for a new sports bra, as the current one is likely to be too tight.


  • If you feel out of balance during these weeks, consider stopping any activity that could cause you to lose balance, such as gymnastics, tennis, downhill skiing, skiing, horseback riding, biking, and hiking in the woods on rough trails. Replace it with swimming, water aerobics or a stationary bike that does not require excellent balance.


  • As your child grows and becomes weaker if you fall or get hit in the stomach, during this season your health care provider may ask you to stop ball sports (football, basketball, tennis, etc.) and contact sports and cycling. (Note that because of your expanding belly, you may find a recumbent bike more comfortable than a traditional stationary bike.)

Biking outdoors during pregnancy exposes you and your baby to unwanted exhaust and other fumes while you’re on the roads, so if you and your health care provider decide you can bike outdoors, choose areas with low traffic.

  • If you do aerobics, make sure your step is no more than four inches off the ground, unless you feel completely stable and balanced with a higher step.


  • If you’ve been rowing, you may find this intensely intense sport extremely stressful for the rest of your pregnancy. Pay close attention to how you feel and how much weight you and your baby are gaining.


  • If you lift weights, don’t strain your thigh muscles, because machines that work on your thighs also tend to put pressure on the ligaments around your pelvis and cause discomfort.


  • After the fourth month, avoid lying on your back for long periods, or else you risk fainting from the pressure your uterus is placing on the vena cava (the large vein that sends blood from your lower body to your heart). If you feel faint on your back, turn on your side to restore blood flow.


  • If you do yoga, now is the time to stop doing back bends, any movements that make you lie on your stomach or back, jumps, and jumps in reverse poses.


  • Many health care providers also recommend that you stop competing in sporting events during the second trimester, although this depends on your sport and how you feel. If you are in your second trimester and want to continue participating in a competitive sport, seek advice from your healthcare provider.


  • Be careful during this trimester (and the third and for about five months after birth) not to over stretch or make sudden movements. During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin prepares you for childbirth by relaxing all of your ligaments and joints. This means that you may be at risk of injuring yourself, as your joints and ligaments will not prevent you from overburdening yourself as you did when you were not pregnant.

Low-impact activities for third trimester exercises (weeks 14-26)
In the third trimester, depending on how you’re feeling, you may need to switch to low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming and indoor cycling. In fact, some women are so tired and have so much difficulty moving that they are unable to exercise at all during the third trimester, but if you can, keep it up: Studies show that women who exercise during the third trimester of pregnancy They achieve success. The biggest benefits of this exercise: reduced fat gain, shorter and less complicated labor and delivery, and shorter postpartum recovery from exercise.
During your third trimester, consider the following potential adjustments and tips:

  • Continue to do pelvic floor exercises, even if you are unable to do anything else. As you rise from the ground, move slowly and carefully to avoid injury.

As in the second trimester, avoid excessive stress. And if you haven’t already stopped cycling outdoors, it’s definitely time to start cycling indoors.

  • In addition to needing a new sports bra, you may need a support belt or belly support. If you are running, you may decide to stop this activity and walk instead. If you exercise, avoid jumping in the last trimester. If you’ve been cycling indoors on a traditional indoor bike and you haven’t switched to a recumbent bike in your second trimester, you may need to do so now.