Exercise in the 1st Trimester
Congratulations, you're pregnant!!
The first trimester is an exciting time, but it's certainly not the easiest. You're thrilled (and possibly shocked) with your news, but you probably won't tell people for another 2-3 months. You might be experiencing some telltale symptoms of pregnancy, or feeling somewhat normal. Every pregnancy is different, so no need to fret either way.
If you are a regular exerciser, you will need to make some minor adjustments to your workout. Below are some hard facts about trimester one, and what you can do to set the stage for a healthy pregnancy.
Here are the basics:
1) You do not need any additional calories in the first trimester
2) You do not need to modify your strength training routine in the first trimester, unless your body tells you otherwise. Continue to lift weights, lay on your back, and deadlift as your heart desires. Just keep lots of water nearby and watch for signs that you're working too hard, or overheating.
3) For your cardiovascular workouts, you may need to scale back. Your body is already making additional blood for your berry-sized baby, which may result in dizziness and fatigue. Check in with a 1-10 scale and stay below a 7. If you can breathe deeply or talk, you're good. (Both of my indoor cycling programs can be easily modified and are perfectly safe for all stages of pregnancy. Click here to get your copy!)
4) Skip the crunches. Yes, you certainly won't be showing in your first trimester, and it's safe to lay on your back. (If you're stuck in a group fitness class with a bunch of people you don't want guessing, you're probably fine to fake em for a bit.) Crunches can put excess pressure in the abdominal cavity which can lead to diastasis recti, a serious condition which can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction and weaken your core. Modify your core workout to include side planks, cat-cow, elevated planks, pelvic tilts, reverse crunches, and leg circles.
5) Check out a Pilates class. Pilates exercises are perfect to strengthen your core, and you can do all of them at this point. Once your belly starts to grow you won't be able to do the hundreds, bicycle crunches, or leg raises without modification, so if you're looking to strengthen your core and learn some pregnancy-friendly workouts, get them in now.
6) You know this already, you will need to start taking a prenatal as soon as you test positive. (Ideally you'll start popping these when you're trying.) Your prenatal vitamin contains Folic Acid, which can help prevent spinal disorders in the early weeks of pregnancy. Baby will take whatever nutrients it needs to grow, so your prenatal is there to make sure you’re covered for your own needs.
7) The recommended weight gain during these first few months is only 1-5 lbs. Many women report losing weight thanks to lack of appetite, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. If you're one of those women, your doctor will most likely tell you it's fine. There's plenty of time to make up for it.
8) Most women experience some mean-fatigue in their first trimester, and you should honor that. If anything feels too intense, skip it. Let your body rest when it needs to. Avoid exercise-induced nausea, dizziness, and overheating by sticking to a 1-7 on your 1-10 scale and keeping lots of water and some snacks in your gym bag.
For a list of common Prenatal Exercise Myths you can forget to worry about, please go here.
Happy early pregnancy!!
Author / Sarah Ann Kelly is an award-winning fitness professional who has been specializing in Pregnancy and Postpartum Fitness for over ten years. Described as "Elle Woods with a Potty Mouth", Sarah Ann was inspired to become a trainer after attending physical therapy to treat knee pain, and has now competed in many triathlons and running events. She's worked with clients from all over the globe and you can learn more about her training and fitness philosophy by visiting MomTrainer.com.