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How to exercise through each of your trimesters

Always listen to your body first and foremost when exercising, By Andrea Rennie at Powerhouse Fitness, a specialist retailer in gym and fitness supplies.

Always listen to your body first and foremost when exercising

In this article, she shares their top tips for exercising through each of your trimesters during pregnancy. Read on to find out more.* If you're an expecting mother, you may be under the impression that your pregnancy is a time when you should be taking things easy. However, while that's true to a certain extent, you can still achieve a healthy level of exercise that can be very beneficial, and make life easier down the line. The NHS recommends that you keep fit during pregnancy, as it helps you adapt to your changing body shape and weight gain, can make labour easier, and give you a healthy head start to getting back into shape. With these benefits in mind, check out some of my top tips for exercising through each of your trimesters.

The First Trimester

During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you're more likely to feel tired and sore as your body adapts to its new job. If you're able to push through the lovely morning sickness and still want to begin or continue your exercise regimen, then you can. However, it's likely that you just won't feel like it at times, and it's important you don't push yourself too hard.

What you can do

If you've got the energy, it may be possible to continue your current exercise regime without many changes during your first trimester. Should you choose to do so, be sure to keep an eye on how fatigued you are and, if you experience any shortness of breath, take some time to rest. The first trimester can be a trying period at times, but it's also a great opportunity to set yourself on the path to fitness if you didn't exercise before. Simply taking a brisk walk for 20–30 minutes is enough to get the ball rolling, and you could even work in a stretching activity like prenatal yoga to strengthen muscles, improve stamina, and practice your breathing.

What you should avoid

There are a few things that you should avoid during the first trimester, and continue to cut out throughout your pregnancy. One of these is contact sports, as they are simply too risky, and another is long distance running, which can place too much strain on your body. You should also avoid exercising in very hot or very cold conditions, as well ensure you stay well hydrated throughout all your activities.

The Second Trimester

Even though you will have gained some extra weight by the second trimester, you may find that you have a lot more energy once the morning sickness and general fatigue has subsided. Though you may feel like doing more exercise than before, it's still important that you don't overwork yourself.

What you can do

You can still safely continue activities in the gym and at home that you've been undertaking in your first trimester. However, as your tummy shows more and more, you may find that your sense of balance is affected, so you may want to try more sedentary or supportive exercises. For example, if you do weights to build strength, you could try sitting down and lifting. You could also practice less strenuous yoga poses to reduce the risk of taking a tumble. If you're finding traditional exercises hard going, swimming takes a lot of the strain off your body but still allows you to work a lot of muscle groups. Water activities are especially beneficial for women who experience back pain and swelling, as they can improve both blood and lymph node circulation.

What you should avoid

As your body prepares for labour during the second trimester, it produces hormones that loosen the joints. Because of this, during high impact activities such as dancing, skipping, or outdoor running, your joints will be more prone to sprains, strains, and other injuries. Therefore, you will need to take extra care, or begin to think about winding these more intensive activities down. You can always replace them with less impactful exercises like jogging on a treadmill, walking, or water aerobics.

The Third Trimester

With your due date in sight, your third trimester is an exciting time, though you may begin to feel fatigued due to the growing little one you're now carrying. You can stay active during this period, though more caution should be taken if you're feeling tired.

What you can do

A lot of women like to stay active during the third trimester because being fit can really ease labour, but you shouldn't feel pressured to do so. At this crucial time, it's more to do with how you feel, as your body is a lot more sensitive, so you may want to lower the rate of exercise and swap out any intensive activities for more relaxed versions. Swimming, walking, and workouts on a reclining exercise bike are the best choices for this period.

What you should avoid

Again, it's important that you consider what your body needs before doing any exercise. If you aren't sure how things are going, it's best to seek the advice of your doctor before proceeding with your regular exercises. It's best to avoid any activities that will see you lying on your back for a period of time, as this can block the healthy blood flow that your baby needs. Be wary of any developing medical conditions that develop during the third trimester, and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about how they may affect your exercising. Follow my advice throughout each of your trimesters and you'll be able to stay happy and healthy throughout your pregnancy. My last pieces of advice to you is to always wear supportive footwear during exercises, and always listen to your body first and foremost.

*Disclaimer: Toddle About is not qualified to dispense medical advice and as such are unable to recommend the advice contained in this article. You should request the advice of a medical professional before acting on any advice in this article.