Easy to Do Pregnancy First Trimester Exercises

Easy & Safe Exercise during Pregnancy First Trimester

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Aruna Kalra (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Exercise is an extremely important part of staying healthy in general. This is also the case when you’re pregnant. Working out during pregnancy can be tricky though, your body is constantly changing, and your hormones are imbalanced, and there is also the matter of working out in a way that will help your unborn child rather than hurt it. When done correctly, exercise can help improve your immune system, improve blood circulation and enhance muscle recovery to ensure those pesky aches and pains are reduced during the duration of your pregnancy.

Video: Easy and Safe First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises

Staying Fit during the First Trimester of Pregnancy

A pregnant woman exercising with her arms stretched out

Pregnancy requires you to change and tweak your workout routines. It may require you to avoid some forms of exercises that put extreme strain on your body. Limiting weights, not doing too much cardio and understanding your body’s new fatigue indicators are all part of these tweaks. This change in a workout mentality has to start as early as the first trimester. Doing new and challenging workouts with trained instructors is a great way of understanding your body’s new dynamic. You can always sign up for prenatal yoga classes, Pilates and draw up a workout schedule with appropriate exercises after talking to your doctor. It is also highly recommended that you have a personal trainer present if possible during this period of your life.

Where should you Start?

A good kick-start to the whole workout routine is with a visit to your doctor. Getting a physical done and consulting your doctor after preliminary tests are done will help you understand how and when your body is going to change and what you need to do to ensure your baby’s and your safety. It is also recommended that you ask your doctor if there are any exercises to avoid. Remember that, it is extremely important to warm up, stretch and cool down during your workouts, this never changes despite the pregnancy.

A safe way to warm up is by starting with 15 minutes of cardio at a comfortable, low pace on the treadmill or elliptical machine. Ensure you do light stretches before and after the warm-ups. Working on weights can be beneficial too but ensure you stick to light weights and go at a pace that doesn’t strain your body. Remember that during pregnancy, you should probably stay away from intense types of workouts like CrossFit.

Best First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises

Before planning your work-out, it is highly recommended that you consult your medical practitioner and find yourself a personal trainer with experience in managing workouts specific to pregnancy. Remember, your first-trimester exercise plan can be slightly more intense than the other two trimesters, but it is recommended that you make adjustments as you go and try not over-exerting yourself.

Here are some good, low-intensity pregnancy workouts for the first trimester that are highly effective:

1. Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is considered a complete workout, it builds strength, has cardio, works on your flexibility and is known to help reduce pain during your delivery. The best part? Prenatal yoga cannot be taught by regular yoga instructors; this means the workout is specifically designed for pregnancy and is taught by certified pregnancy exercise specialists.

How Much You Should Do

Atleast once a week for about 10 minutes.

2. Pilates

Like prenatal yoga, Pilates incorporates strength, flexibility and cardio to create a perfect workout routine that is low intensity but highly effective, Pilates is known to help increase blood flow and when taught by an expert is safe for women at any stage of pregnancy.

How Much You Should Do 

This exercise regime should be done only once a week.

3. Squats

Squats are an amazing way to build lower body strength, squats also help build durability in the groin region and are known to help reduce pain during the delivery, it also is a great way to build your calves, hamstrings and quads. Remember, while doing squats, do not lock your knees.

How Much You Should Do

Between 10-15 repetitions three times a week.

4. Swimming

A great way to tone your body is by going for a swim; it’s great for a cardio workout, can help tone most of your body and is also great for your pregnancy. In fact, there are some cultures that recommend floating in water during the pregnancy to relieve the strain on your body. The best part of this type of exercise is it puts no strain on any joints and is a non-impact activity that is highly effective.

How Much You Should Do

Approximately 4 times a week, with each swimming session being no more than 30 minutes.

5. Jogging

One of the safest ways to exercise, jogging at a comfortable pace can help build stamina, regulate blood flow and is known to keep you limber and loose. Jogging is traditionally a great workout for the first trimester; you can trim it down to a brisk walk when you are further along in the pregnancy. Remember, you shouldn’t over-exert yourself, and that means staying at a pace you are comfortable in.

How Much You Should Do

Around three times a week if you are a seasoned jogger

6. Spinning

A spinning class is great for aerobic workouts, it is intense yet low impact, it pushes your heart rate in a healthy and controlled way, it is safe, and best of all it burns calories, tones your lower torso immensely and is a great way to improve your metabolism.

How Much You Should Do

Approximately one hour in a week

7. Weights

Lifting weights is a great way to build strength; this also helps you tone your muscles all over. When done correctly it can help manage weight distribution to carry that excess pregnancy weight later in the pregnancy. Remember though; you shouldn’t lift weights that are too heavy and ensure you maintain the form of the workout, don’t lock your joints.

How Much You Should Do

Low intensity workouts twice a week is sufficient

Tips for Exercising in Early Pregnancy

Workouts can be extremely beneficial when done in a safe and controlled manner, here are a few tips to help you get the most of your workouts during your pregnancy.

  • Get enough rest, when you’re pregnant and working out, it is absolutely essential you get enough rest for your body to recover.
  • Don’t overdo it. If you feel tired, rest. Don’t force yourself to work out if your body is telling you to rest.
  • Eat well; it is essential to keep your nutrition in mind when working out and when you’re pregnant. Talk to a nutritionist and follow a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Keep all your doctor’s appointments; this will allow doctors to monitor your baby’s and your progress when working out, this gives them an opportunity to keep an eye on if any changes to your routine are required.
  • Stay hydrated, consuming enough water and hydrating foods is essential towards recovery and should not be overlooked. The bouts of nausea and vomiting that you will experience increase the risk of dehydration.

Exercise during the initial stages of pregnancy can be an extremely important and beneficial thing, ensure that any workout plan you design is only implemented after getting the go-ahead from your medical care expert. It is highly recommended that you hire a personal trainer. During pregnancy, it is important that you don’t strain your body too much, as it can it can lead to exhaustion, and that can be dangerous for your baby and you. It is also recommended that you only workout for a limited duration each day, and make it a part of your routine. Try to stick to between 30 to 90 minutes per day and remember to go at your own pace.

Also Read: Safe Exercises for Easy Labour & Delivery

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