Health / Pregnancy

6 Ways Exercise Should Change in Your Second Trimester

Here’s how to modify your workouts as you enter trimester two.

Whether you just entered your second trimester or are several weeks into it, you’re probably already enjoying its perks. For many expectant women, the second trimester is the favorite. Morning sickness has likely passed, a wave of energy returns, and the amount of aches and pains may subside for a while.

Since you are feeling your best and have more energy than in the first trimester, it’s a great time to exercise. Not only is physical activity beneficial for you, but it’s also one of the best things you can do for your growing and developing baby.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

If you’ve been exercising in your first trimester, however, you may have to make a few changes as you enter trimester two. This brings about some challenges of its own.

Aaptiv’s maternity programs will guide you through each trimester. Check out our fitness programs here.

Here, fitness experts share six ways you should modify exercise in the second trimester.

Cut out high-impact workouts.

After about 15 to 20 weeks, ob-gyn Rebecca Levy-Gantt, M.D., of Premier ObGyn Napa, recommends eliminating or minimizing high-impact activities, especially anything that requires you to bounce up and down.

“As the baby and the uterus grow, and with looser muscles and ligaments, there is more potential for sprains and strains,” she says. “Also, avoid activities that require excellent balance. The center of gravity by 25 weeks is way out in front, leading to more potential for falls and injury.”

Monitor your heart rate.

If you weren’t already doing this in trimester one, it’s time to start.

Blood flow and oxygen to the baby are important but can be limited when your heart rate stays in an anaerobic zone for long periods of time, according to Lauren Powers, fitness coach, certified personal trainer, and founder and co-owner of Total Fitness Revolution in Mableton, Georgia.

She recommends wearing a heart monitor during exercises (this is our favorite) and aiming to keep your heart rate below 150 bpm.

Wear a belly band.

Your belly may not have changed all that much in trimester one, but it’s about to now.

“As your belly increases, you may find it necessary to wear a belly support band (like this best seller). [This] will help you remove pressure off your pelvis and will make exercise more comfortable,” Powers says.

Watch your pelvic floor.

As your baby grows, he or she is increasingly placing pressure on your pelvic floor.

This can result in weakened abdominal muscles post-delivery if not cared for properly, Powers notes. To prevent this, she suggests practicing Kegels and doing pelvic-floor exercises to strengthen those muscles so there won’t be such a drastic change postpartum.

Stay away from oblique exercises.

You definitely want to continue to work your abdominals. But it’s extremely important to work only the transverse abdominals.

“Working your obliques could cause your abs to split apart farther than they already will,” Powers says.

“If they don’t naturally heal back together, you will develop diastasis rectus. [This], if it’s severe enough, can only be repaired by surgery.”

Avoid “jerky” movements.

During pregnancy, you develop a hormone called relaxin. This relaxes your muscles, specifically the ligaments in the pelvis.

It helps soften your cervix to prepare for labor. “Relaxin may also make your joints extra stretchy, which could make it easy for you to dislocate or throw a joint out of socket,” Powers warns.

Our maternity programs are led by prenatal expert fitness trainers. View our new maternity workout classes here.

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