Exercise Changes During Each
Trimester of Pregnancy

If you missed last week’s post about exercising during pregnancy, check that out first.

As promised, I’m expanding below about what I personally changed during each trimester to keep working out pain-free and without hurting myself or my baby. Again, keep in mind that everyone is different and it’s important to use common sense and stop if something doesn’t feel right. These thoughts also only apply to those who have been cleared to workout by their doctors and are having a normal pregnancy. Any complications may mean that working out during this time is not recommended or even impossible.

I am finding that things change more day-to-day for me during my pregnancy versus before. Sometimes I don’t sleep well for a few days and find myself struggling to muster up the energy to workout. On those days an easy sweat session on the Arc Trainer (or a light run in the beginning of my pregnancy) seems to be the best bet. Other days when I have a ton of energy I work out much longer and/or harder. I really try to listen to my body and do what feels right. Some days I have the energy to bust out a great workout, but only for about 30 minutes. Other days I want to take my time and add in more rest time so I’ll work out a bit easier for up to an hour. The Second Trimester was by far the most consistent because I felt the best and wasn’t feeling too restricted by my size yet.

First Trimester Workouts:

I was so tired all of the time during my first trimester, but mornings were actually when I felt best. This worked out great for me because I usually workout first thing, before heading to

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work. I tried to workout about 5 days a week, but found towards the middle and through the end of the first trimester that I had to do shorter workouts (usually about 30 minutes) than normal because I was exhausted. I was still able to run and continued strength training, just using lighter weights on days where I was tired or skipping something if I didn’t feel up to it. As far as training with Kettlebells, everything remained basically the same during this trimester, but I eliminated Turkish Get Ups and Arm Bars towards the end of this trimester because I didn’t think that much rotation was the best for me. I also eliminated heavy deadlifts and anything where I had to hold my breath to tense up enough to perform a lift successfully.

More on First Trimester:

Second Trimester Workouts:

I felt great during most of my second trimester. I ran a lot during the first portion of this trimester, but started getting uncomfortable towards the middle of this trimester. It happened to be right around the same time it started snowing like crazy and the snowbanks became taller than I was so I would have been forced to stop running outside for safety reasons. I continued to run a bit here and there on the treadmill for a few minutes at a time (in between walking), but I stopped running completely towards the end of this trimester because I found that after a run I would have some pretty significant pelvic pain for a few days. Despite eliminating runs, I had more energy overall and found that I was really itching to do some longer workouts again. I continued to strength train, and did tons of kettlebell snatches, kettlebell swings, goblet squats and overhead presses.

Unfortunately, I also stopped doing pull-ups and chin-ups at some point during this trimester when they just didn’t feel right (some women feel fine doing these all throughout their pregnancy). I stopped doing all exercises where I had to lie flat on my back or stomach and used some lighter kettlebells than I had been using before. Overall, I felt great and managed to squeeze in some really good workouts!

More on Second Trimester:

Third Trimester Thoughts Workouts:

Besides the week where I was having groin pain and dislocated my shoulder I have been feeling good so far (I’m 33 weeks tomorrow.) I realized that my groin pain seemed to increase when I did more single leg or split stance exercises (lunges, split squats, bulgarian squats, step ups, etc.) so I have eliminated those for now. I may try to add some bodyweight lunges and/or step ups back into my program in the next few weeks if I feel okay. I have been able to continue strength training and have been focusing a lot on squats (bodyweight and kettlebell goblet squats) and push/pull exercises for my upper body (various types of rows as well as push ups and incline chest press). I am still doing planks and side planks in hopes of keeping my core strong for an easier labor. ;-) I have also continued to train a good amount with kettlebells and find that snatching is still quite comfortable. Two-handed swings are getting a bit more difficult just because I feel like sometimes I am smacking my baby on the down swing!

I’m finding that when I overdo it, my recovery is much longer than it was before pregnancy. My body tends to get achy more easily, but in general I am managing. I am getting to the point now where I really miss heading out for a run (especially with spring on the way!) and I am really really really missing workouts where I can truly kick my butt with tough intervals and heavy strength training.

No major complaints though considering today I completed 120 kettlebell snatches (12K Kettlebell), 100 kettlebell swings (16K Kettlebell) and some intervals on the Arc Trainer. Not too shabby for almost 33 weeks although I miss being able to complete 100 snatches in 5 minutes with the 14K Kettlebell (watch video from this past September).

More on Third Trimester:

Overall, I am learning so much about my body and what it is capable of doing. I can’t wait to help other women stay fit during their pregnancies! I’m hoping and praying that my choices are going to make for an easier labor and delivery and a faster recovery after Baby Perry is here. I’ll be anxious to get back in shape, but I know I’m going to have to take my time and gradually get back to where I was before.

I have been paying a lot of attention to stories from women who have had recently had babies. I am starting to see a pattern in those who continued working out and focused on staying healthy versus those who just gave up and did whatever they felt like (generally a whole lot of sitting and eating). I can only speculate and don’t want to jinx myself so I’ll stop there and continue this specific topic once I actually have my baby. :)

Phew…long post, but I hope it was helpful!

Do you have any other questions about working out during pregnancy that I can answer for you?

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2 Responses

  • Stephanie says:

    I love that I found your blog! It’s so good seeing other women prove you can pull off keeping an active lifestyle through pregnancy.

    I have a question. I’m in my 7th week of the first trimester and am exhausted all the time and queesy. I was very active before (actually in the process of training for a figure competition) but I’m finding that I’m really lacking the energy to get in my workouts. I’m also a little nervous after a workout involving some heavy lifting I had painful cramps later that night. My first reaction is to wait until I’ve cleared the first trimester to jump back in but I’m afraid of what those extra weeks will do to my fitness…any advice?!

    • Amanda Perry says:

      It’s SO hard getting up the energy to workout during the first trimester. The hardest for me was around 7 weeks until about 14 weeks (sorry to say!). I felt like giving up many times, but decided to just cut back on weight and/or intensity with the hope that once I felt better I could add things back in. Fortunately that is exactly what happened.

      Some advice…I would definitely try to keep up some type of schedule rather than just throwing in the towel for the next few weeks (think how hard it will be to get back in after that). Schedule workouts when you generally feel best (whether it’s morning, mid-day or evening) and set a goal and stick to it….whether it’s 3 times a week or 5. My guess is if you use lighter weights and take it easy you’ll feel better than doing nothing at all and once you feel better it will be easy to get back to better workouts. :) I would stay away from the heavy lifting for now if that’s not feeling good.

      Good luck!!!

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