With more energy and still a reasonable bump, second trimester exercise can be fun! Learn basic tips to help you stay fit, healthy, and safe during the second trimester of pregnancy. Use these second trimester exercise tips to implement good habits, choose safe workouts, and focus less on "intense" and more on how your body is feeling and growing.
Disclaimer: The advice in this blog post is general and not geared towards you specifically. Please check with your doctor or midwife before starting or engaging any new workout routine or exercises.
The second trimester of pregnancy is often the golden trimester. This is the fifteen weeks where you feel your best. Where everything is cute and glowing and stabilized.
If you survived your first trimester you may be wondering what second trimester exercise should look like. However, there are a lot of aspects to consider when it comes to a workout routine:
- Placenta Placement
- Your Growing Bump
- Rest Time
- Joints & Ligaments
- Active versus Intense
The second trimester of pregnancy is much easier than the first when it comes to maintaining your fitness level or starting simple workouts.
Second Trimester Exercise: How It Is Easier
For me and the majority of people, the second trimester of pregnancy is a breeze compared to the first. There are definitely some unlucky ladies who are sick, tired, and feel horrible throughout their whole pregnancy (I am so so sorry!) but for the majority of us, weeks 14-28 are perfect.
At this stage, you're rocking a bump and regardless of its size, it's cute. You may be able to eat a bit more like normal compared to the first couple of months and energy-wise you're laughing. While you may still want to nap and take more rest, you're not left crippled at the thought of moving.
This is the area of pregnancy in which workouts can really be consistent and prepare you for birth as well as keep you comfortable. When it comes to second trimester exercise, movement is great (yes even while you're pregnant) and can help alleviate a few preggo symptoms.
But, like everything, there are some things that need to be considered during the second trimester of pregnancy before you think of any kind of workout routine.
Around 20 weeks you'll have your anatomy scan which will tell you where your placenta is located. This is important for second trimester exercise, because If you have a low lying placenta or placenta previa your workouts need to be altered because it can be dangerous.
With a full-blown placenta previa you'll probably be put on bed rest.
With just a low lying placenta you'll be allowed to continue on your way with caution. Normally your placenta will shift out of the way with low lying placenta. However, you'll want to make some adjustments:
- Ease off on lifting super heavy where you need to bear down (loaded squats etc)
- Omit any impact exercises (jumping) as it will strain your pelvic floor too
- Reduce your intensity, make sure you can breathe through your workouts
Too much intensity (that can be in weight, impact, breathing on contracting) can cause bleeding if you your placents isn't out of the way.
Remember, the goal of staying "fit" during pregnancy isn't to rock beast mode all the time or to be super lean. Pregnancy fitness is about feeling good and helping prepare your body for labor.
Accommodate Your Belly
Once that gorgeous belly starts to develop there are some exercises you may need to avoid completely or at least modify.. mainly because it gets in the way!
Not only that, some exercises can place the wrong kind of pressure onto your abs and core which is already being super stretches. This pressure isn't the same for everyone but they're good general guidelines.
Once your belly develops in the second trimester of pregnancy, try to avoid of modifiy exercises like:
- Push Ups
- Feet Elevated Anything
If it feels like your belly is "hanging" or if your linea alba is making a "dome", cease the exercise. Instead, modify the exercise with one of the following ideas:
- Use a wall for planks or push ups
- Cease feet elevated exercises
- Choose different core exercises like parlof presses in place of standard ab ones
One thing to remember during your second trimester exercise, is that your abdominals are already stretching and struggling, so placing excess resistance on them isn't recommended and could further any diastasis recti.
If you really want to keep specific exercises, try performing them on an incline which is less direct tummy pressure (and here's an awesome read on why you should see a pelvic floor physio during and after pregnancy!)
Exercises like squats you may need to alter your stance if you feel your belly pressing into your knees. Anything with a barbell in your lap (hip thrusts) will probably have to be omitted completely.
Shortening your range of motion is also going to happen- this is normal! You may not be able to squat as deeply as before or perform typical hip hinges. Work within the range that feels comfortable. You don't need to prove anything.
Like the rules for first trimester: pay attention.
As your belly grows you'll require more and more energy just to do basic tasks. Seriously, the laundry basket up the stairs made me have to rest in between landings. it was depressing... but also normal and expected!
This means that you may need to take more breaks during your workouts to catch your breath and recover. This isn't you struggling to keep up this is normal.
There's a lot more oxygen and blood flow demands now so it only makes sense that you'll have to take it a bit slower.
Remember, the goal of pregnancy fitness isn't to be intense, it's to help support your body. Show it some love and take extra long rest times.
Be careful with your joints and ligaments
I'm sure you've heard of relaxin by now. That fun hormone that allows your hips to stretch to accommodate the baby.
Well, it doesn't just stretch your hips but your entire body. This means that you need to be careful of exercises in which you're hanging for instance. As your body wills struggle to stabilize the muscles around the joint.
This also applies to overstretching. It's much easier to overstretch while pregnant but the issue is normally that you're stretching at the joints and not the muscles- this isn't good.
My goal with pregnancy clients is to focus on strengthening around the joints and not improving felxibility. This means placing extra focus on the muscles of the hips in addition to regular postural training.
Second Trimester Exercise: HowStay Active
Closer to the end of your second trimester, traditional workouts may be getting more challenging.
Remember that the goal of pregnancy is activity, not designated workouts. Walking, swimming, playing with kids, etc are all great ways to stay "fit" in pregnancy.
It doesn't necessarily have to be a scheduled workout. Focus on movement, what feels good, and making use of exercises that will prepare you for birth.
When it comes to fitness in the second trimester of pregnancy the goals are:
- To make your body feel good
- Exercising to help reduce pain related to pregnancy
- Focusing on strengthening the postural muscles to combat pregnancy changes
- To prepare for labor and the postpartum stage
Remember that you're carrying a bit more weight than your muscles are used to so even daily tasks seem like a workout to them.
Workouts For Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
If you're super confused as to what to do now that you're pregnant, here's a few tips:
- Use resistance bands, they're low impact and perfect for pregnancy (use code mamabear15 and save some money)
- Focus on postural muscles (upper back, glutes, hamstrings)
- Strengthen the hips and glutes
Workouts will vary based on how you feel that day. They will also vary from person to person because every pregnancy is different.
Below are a few workouts I rocked during my second trimester of pregnancy. Remember, take it slow, and when in doubt- be less intense.
- Second trimester full body trx workout
- Total body pre-natal workout
- Dumbbell arm workout
- Quink prenatal workout
- Pregnancy yoga flow
Update: I am now currently pregnant with my third babe (eek!) and filming second trimester workouts every other week. Peek the pregnancy playlist on my YouTube channel for follow along second-trimester workouts!
Most importantly, enjoy your pregnancy! Don't feel like you have to do anything. Stay active because you want to, because it feels good and because you can.
Not because you need to prove anything. The most important goal is keeping the baby and mama healthy- not setting new PR's (personal records).
Don't forget to pin these fitness reminders second trimester exercise!
Remember, all of the tips from the first trimester still apply (take breaks, eat before a workout, guzzle water etc). Only now that you're in your second trimester of pregnancy there's a bit more to focus on.