Tips To Stay Fit In The Second Trimester
Ah the second trimester, 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 how to rock this one too. And while there are a few tips, it’s much easier than the first (read all about my second trimester with the cub compared to bear here). Staying active while pregnant can have some major benefits, but you need to stay safe also. Check out some of my favorite pregnancy exercises here.
For me and the majority of people the second trimester 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 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. 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 in the second trimester
Around 20 weeks you’ll have your anatomy scan which will tell you where your placenta is located. This is important. 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 preview you’ll probably be put on bed rest. With just a low lying placenta you’ll be allowed to continue on your way but I would advise you to cease lifting anything heavy, high impact or intense. Even with just a low lying placenta if too much pressure is placed down there (like using your core/floor muscles in a heavy squat) can cause bleeding. Take it seriously.
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!
Try not to place any forward pressure on the belly (like in a front plank/push up etc) if it feels like your belly is “hanging”. Your abdominals are already stretching and struggling, so placing excess resistance on them isn’t recommended and could further diastasis recti. If you really want to keep them, 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.
Like the rules for first trimester: pay attention.
As your belly grows you’ll require more and more energy just to do basic tasks. 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.
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 over stretching. It’s much easier to over stretch while pregnant but the issue is normally that you’re stretching at the joints and not the muscles- this isn’t good.
Closer towards 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.
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. That said, here’s one of my favorite second trimester workouts if you need some inspiration (video included)!
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 tips for other expecting mamas!