It is still a common misconception that pregnant women should steer clear of exercise. However, first-trimester exercises can be beneficial for both you and your unborn child.
In terms of pregnancies with co-morbidities or conflicting health conditions, this may not be the case. Therefore before starting, make sure all physical activity for the purpose of the exercise is reviewed with your primary care practitioner.
Exercise is not the only way to improve your well-being during the first trimester. Check out our post 13 First trimester tips you need to know for more health topics for the first trimester.
Benefits of First-Trimester Exercises
Working out during pregnancy has many benefits. These benefits should be explored and reaped. Let’s review some of the most notable ones for first-trimester exercises.
- Sleep regulation
- Mood regulation
- Maintain good posture
- Increase energy
- Prevention or treatment of gestational diabetes
- May Reduce or eliminate aches and pains
- May Reduce or eliminate bloating and swelling
- Blood sugar regulation
- Promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance
The exercise recommendations still are based on the current guidelines of moderate-intensity, low-impact, aerobic exercise at least three times a week. These exercises result in gentle, moderate movements that can be easily controlled to reduce the risk of injury. The stretching, constant motion of limbs, and a moderate rise in heart rate are effective enough to gain the benefits of exercise during pregnancy.
Kegels – this stationary exercise tones the pelvic floor which supports the uterus, vagina, bowel, and bladder.
Walking and jogging – mobilizing on a flat, even surface with supportive, well-fitting footwear can achieve a moderate rise in heart rate.
Swimming and water aerobics – this low-impact activity eliminates the risk of falling while being able to maintain movement of limbs and torso to get that moderate rise in heart rate.
Pilates – pilates can increase core strength, and ease back pain during pregnancy.
Low-intensity weight training – this is another way to increase overall muscle tone and core strength increase stability. Ensure that weights are in a safe position to protect the fetus.
Spin class or stationary cycling – this is a great alternative to cardio exercise, getting that moderate rise in heart rate without risking a fall on a regular bicycle.
Do’s and Dont’s of First-Trimester Exercises
- stay hydrate
- practise deep breathing
- wear loss fitting clothing for activity
- stay cool
- wear supportive, well-fitting shoes
- participate in high-contact or high-intensity sports or activity
- perform activity in an over-heated environment
- put any pressure on the torso or pelvis
Stop Exercise if you feel
- blurred vision
- dehydrated feeling
- shortness of breath
- irregular heart rate
If you have these symptoms after exercising (or at any point in the pregnancy) you need emergency care
- Extreme vomiting or diarrhea
- chest pain
- vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge
- abdominal or pelvic pain
- contractions prior to term of pregnancy
- decrease in fetal movement
First Timer Vs Expert Workout Moms
If you are completely new to exercise and are wanting to start for the benefit of you and your baby, once again, it would be best to review with the primary practitioner overseeing your care before starting. If you are already on the more athletic side, do remember that the body is now in a different state with growing a baby! Maintaining yourself for the purpose of providing benefits for you and your baby, is the goal. Keeping your current, high activity level would have to be reviewed in terms of safe positioning and heart rate.