Tailor your exercise routine to fit your prenatal needs and abilities.
As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll want to adjust your workout accordingly to accommodate your changing and growing body. Personal trainer, prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist, and mom of one, Melissa Paris, shares the following tips for making the most of your workouts in each trimester.
Early in pregnancy, your body is adjusting to all sorts of hormonal surges. Not much has to change in your workouts unless your doctor advises otherwise, but it’s a great time to purchase a supportive bra and refillable water bottle and set aside time for exercise during the parts of day when you feel best.
It’s important to consider what your fitness level was before bump. If you were exercising regularly prepregnancy, you can still do most of the same exercises during the first trimester (but stop immediately if you feel discomfort or pain). You might notice breast enlargement, feel extra flexible or experience fatigue. Your heart rate may also seem to escalate more quickly, so stop if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
As you approach the second trimester, morning sickness may start to dissipate. Avoid situps and twists as they can strain the abdominals, which are already more stretched than before. And remember to avoid lying on your belly.
You might need to gradually reduce the amount of weight you’re lifting because your center of gravity shifts with your growing belly, throwing your balance off and possibly leading to a strained muscle or fall. You should also modify certain moves, like those with overhead lifting and pressing, which can put excess stress on your lower back and cause you to lose your balance. Simple adaptations such as lifting just one weight during an overhead press while the opposite arm helps you balance, or taking moves from a standing position to a seated one, can help keep you on track.
During the home stretch, everything may seem hard, and shortness of breath is probably at an all-time high. This might be the time to scale back and move a little slower if need be.
You also will likely feel wobbly and swollen. If so, perform exercises at a comfortable level, while standing on both feet or seated. Avoid bouncing or plyometrics, which add too much impact on the pelvic ligaments. Even if you waddle, keep moving at a comfortable level when you can, as this will help tremendously with your recovery process postpartum.