A Trimester-by-Trimester Guide to Exercise
First Trimester Tips
- You can pretty much continue doing exactly what you were doing before pregnancy (including lifting the same amount of weight).
- Now is a smart time to get involved in a prenatal yoga or Pilates class; it's a great habit to carry throughout your pregnancy (plus, you'll get to be around other pregnant women).
- If you feel sluggish, try decreasing either the intensity or the duration of your workout rather than skipping the workout altogether (example: drop your jogging pace by 30 seconds a mile, or cut your bike ride a few miles short).
Second Trimester Tips
- Your heart is starting to work harder to circulate all the blood you built up during the first three months. Cut back your cardio intensity by 20 to 30 percent, says Dr. Young. You'll still feel as if you're working just as hard.
- Avoid inversions (such as Downward Dog in yoga) if you feel at all light-headed.
- If you're a cyclist, consider switching to the stationary bike or to a Spinning class; your growing belly can make balancing on a bicycle tricky.
Third Trimester Tips
- Your joints are more vulnerable, so beware of heavy (15 pounds or more) weights; opt instead for more repetitions, says Pivarnik.
- Do free-weight exercises seated, if possible, because you'll want your back supported (plus it's hard to balance while standing up).
- You can continue with your cardio right up until you deliver, but don't be surprised if you can walk faster than you can jog. Many pregnant women find that supporting their belly (with something like the Belly Band) during cardio helps take the pressure off.
- Now is a great time to try swimming: You'll feel wonderfully weightless in the water, and it won't stress your joints.
Originally published in American Baby magazine.
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