Safe and Effective Exercises for 1st Trimester(Expert Advice)
Are you one of those pregnant women who likes to stay physically active? Or someone…
Are you one of those pregnant women who likes to stay physically active? Or someone who wants to exercise regularly now that you know you’re pregnant? Are you unsure if exercise during 1st trimester of pregnancy will be safe for you and your baby? Here we will explore few exercises for 1st trimester that you can practice.
Exercise During 1st Trimester: Is It Good?
Moms-to-be often wonder if physical activity, especially exercises in pregnancy 1st trimester, is still a good and harmless thing to get involved in now that they’re pregnant. To burst all your inhibitions, let us tell you that exercising during pregnancy is safe for a mother and her unborn baby as long as she is having a normal pregnancy and her ob-gyn has approved it. Therefore, before you begin any exercise routine while pregnant, you must get your doctor’s approval to avoid any risk.
While women who have a healthy and normal pregnancy are allowed to be physically active during their pregnancy period, today we will specifically discuss how you can safely exercise during your 1st trimester without any worries. So, let’s get started!
Understanding the 1st Trimester
Your first trimester comprises the first thirteen weeks of your pregnancy. This is when you will go through some really significant changes physically and emotionally. You may develop swollen breasts, have mood swings often, and feel more tired than usual. These changes happen mainly due to the surge in hormones in your body.
You may also experience a few unpleasant pregnancy symptoms like constipation, tender breasts, and nausea, which usually fade away as your pregnancy progresses.
By the end of these first three months of pregnancy, you may still not see a significant bump in your tummy, but rest assured, as all your baby’s organs and body systems have started developing by now. This is also the time when worries and apprehensions take over your mind. So be open to discussion and talk to your partner, friends, and family to feel better.
Benefits of Exercises for Pregnant Women
Many women skip exercising altogether when they’re pregnant because they fear they may have to deal with pregnancy loss or early delivery. But the fact is that exercising regularly during pregnancy can help you reap many health benefits and prepare you for labor and delivery.
So, let’s see how staying active during this phase of your life can benefit you:
- Helps you gain adequate weight during pregnancy
- Reduces pregnancy symptoms like back pain, constipation, and bloating
- More energy to navigate through the day
- You will sleep better
- Reduces stress and anxiety levels
- Keeps a check on excessive weight gain
- Lowers the possibility of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
- Reduces the risk of having a C-section
- Helps in losing pregnancy weight gain after delivery
Safety Considerations for 1st Trimester Exercises
When we say regular exercise is good for pregnant women, we are talking about those with a healthy pregnancy, with no other pregnancy complications, and whose ob-gyn has given them the go-ahead to remain active. Because exercising is not safe for all pregnant women, it is imperative to ask for your doctor’s permission if you plan to continue or get into a new exercise routine. Your provider will advise you on the same, considering your health and that of your baby.
Contraindications and Warning Signs
Some situations where exercising during pregnancy is not advisable are:
And then we have a few warning signs that tell you to stop working out immediately and get in touch with your ob-gyn to ensure everything is safe and sound with your pregnancy.
These signs are:
As you can see, a safe and healthy pregnancy can develop complications if you don’t pay heed to your doctor’s advice and indulge in strenuous physical activity. So, whenever you’re exercising, don’t just keep going even when you feel tired. Listen to your body cues while you’re at it. If you struggle to converse while working out, know that it’s time to take it slow. By listening to your body, you can avoid exhaustion and exercise safely during pregnancy.
Recommended Exercises for the 1st Trimester
Walking is one of the best low-impact exercise that can be safely done during the 1st trimester. If you’re a complete beginner, you will be better off walking at a comfortable pace on most days for only 10 minutes. Later, as you gain stamina, you can increase your speed and swing your arms higher to get your heart pumping.
Gradually increasing your walking time from 10 to 30 minutes on most days of the week should be your aim. But if on some days you don’t feel like putting on your walking shoes, that’s okay too! Feel free to take a break so you can recharge yourself before you return to your routine.
Two things to remember when walking during pregnancy are to wear comfortable and well-fitting footwear and watch your steps as you walk to avoid tripping and hurting yourself and your baby.
Riding a stationary bike is just like riding a normal bike, minus the dangers of falling or getting into an accident. So, it is a great option for pregnant women who want to get moving. If you have never ridden a stationary bike, aim for 10 to 15 minutes of riding time two to three times in a week. Then, once you are ready for more, add 10 more minutes to your session until you reach 30–60 minutes of bike riding in one session.
Yoga is considered one of the best practices for new moms-to-be. It helps build strength and relax the mind and soul, which is great for pregnancy-related stress. Breathing exercises you learn during prenatal yoga sessions benefit you when you’re in labor.
Many hospitals and yoga centers conduct prenatal yoga classes. Joining one of them is definitely a good idea. You can practice yoga daily if that’s what you like, or reserve one day of the week for this form of exercise.
While prenatal pilates is good for enhancing balance and flexibility and improving posture, strength, and joint movements, it should be done at low intensity. It is best to join a pilates class and let the instructor know you’re pregnant so he can suggest exercises with modifications.
A once-a-week session of prenatal pilates can help you build strength and balance and reduce any lower back issues you might have. However, be mindful of not doing exercises that need you to lie flat on your back or twist from side to side.
If you enjoy swimming, take a splash in the pool once or twice a week. You don’t have to give up on your favorite activity just because your baby is growing within you. Swimming is an excellent, low-impact activity for expecting mothers. The water will help you relax and improve your fitness levels. Just remember not to over-exert yourself. Take frequent breaks between laps, and be careful as you walk on the slippery floor around the pool.
It is okay to exercise with light free weights during your 1st trimester. Low-intensity weight training will build your strength and prepare you for delivery and the postpartum period. You may incorporate one or two sessions of low-intensity strength training into your weekly exercise routine to derive its health benefits.
However, remember not to do exercises that have you lie on your back or lift weights over your tummy. If you’re working out at the gym, your trainer will be able to share some easy weightlifting exercises that you can safely practice during this period.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Also known as Kegel exercises, these discreet workouts for pelvic floor muscles are a must for pregnant women. Kegels help in maintaining bladder control, and they also save you from developing hemorrhoids.
Why should you do these exercises? Because you can do them at any place you like, plus, there’s no need for special equipment. And no one will even know about it. You can secretly strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by gently squeezing them for a few seconds, followed by a period of relaxation. Three sets of fifteen repetitions are enough for one day.
Modifications and Precautions
When not pregnant, one can try different exercises at varying intensity levels without much thought. But when you’re pregnant, it’s necessary to be a little extra cautious so that you don’t risk your life and that of your developing fetus. Therefore, when getting into an exercise routine during the first trimester, you must pay attention to a few things:
Modify Your Exercises To Accommodate Changing Body And Energy Levels
You don’t need any exercise modifications during the first trimester, as your baby is still small and your body has not put on much weight. But you can still change how you exercise depending on how well you’re feeling. If you have the energy, go for a nice, brisk walk for a good 30 minutes. But if you’re tired, you may walk slowly and steadily for only 10 minutes. Other simple modifications you can try during the first trimester are incorporating some hip and glute exercises into your routine and turning on the AC to work out in a comfortable environment.
Follow A Proper Warm-Up And Cool-Down Routine
Start your routine with a couple of simple warm-up exercises. It helps in increasing your heart rate and blood supply to your muscles. Following a good warm-up routine can reduce the risk of injury because your body is well-prepared for physical activity.
Similarly, conclude your workout with a quick cool-down routine so you can gradually bring your heart rate and blood pressure back to normal. Cooling down relaxes your tired muscles and reduces lactic acid buildup, responsible for post-workout aches and pains.
Avoid High-Impact Activities and Exercises with a Risk of Falling
High-impact activities are a complete “no” during the entire period of pregnancy. Such exercises increase your heart rate to a large extent, and your body needs more time to calm down. So stay away from high-intensity workouts, so you don’t develop any complications. It is also necessary to avoid doing exercises that can make you fall and negatively affect you and your growing baby.
Monitor Your Heart Rate and Avoid Overheating
It also helps to track your heart rate when you’re pregnant and exercising. So, get yourself a smartwatch or a fitness band to monitor your heartbeat. As a general rule, don’t let your heartbeat rise beyond 140 beats per minute when exercising. In addition, you must ensure not to overheat yourself by pushing yourself too hard, as overheating is also not good for your baby. To prevent this problem in the summer, try exercising in the early morning or late evening. You could even turn on the air conditioning to keep yourself cool and comfortable.
Expert Tips and Advice for 1st Trimester Exercises
The first trimester is the time when you need to be extra careful during your workouts.
Here are a few tips to ensure utmost safety and make the whole experience pleasant:
- Try to get at least two and a half hours of physical activity in one week. That’s 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
- Pay attention to your body signals, and don’t exercise if your body is not ready. It’s okay to skip a day of exercise whenever necessary.
- Couple your workouts with a healthy, well-balanced diet to maintain your energy and fitness level.
- Hydrate yourself before the workout and take sips of water intermittently to keep yourself from dehydrating.
- Wear comfortable clothes and footwear when exercising.
- Pay attention to fatigue cues and take breaks when exercising so you don’t reach the point of exhaustion.
- Practice meditation and deep breathing at the end of your workout session to rejuvenate and revive your lost energy.
It’s natural for new moms-to-be to doubt whether exercising during the first trimester is safe. After all, we hear all sorts of advice when pregnant. But rest assured that there’s nothing wrong with getting some exercise if your doctor says your pregnancy is progressing the right way with no complications.
So, before you begin exercising, please speak to your ob-gyn and follow their advice diligently. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, moms-to-be can ensure a smooth pregnancy and postpartum life.