My Exercise during First Trimester
Updated: Apr 19
The movement I did during my first trimester. Let me first set the stage for my activity level and before pregnancy. I had just completed 75 hard. Which was 75 days of two 45 minute workouts a day. I was strength training 6 days a week and walking for my additional workouts. I've also consistently lifted for about 10 years. So I'm not new to lifting or extensive amounts of cardio. I don’t do anything extreme but I am very consistent. So consider that when exercising when pregnant. But even if you don't exercise and you get pregnant it is extremely beneficial to start. Strength training and cardio benefits your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum. So even if you don't workout now, you're not off the hook.
So what I'm going to share is what I would recommend for an intermediate to advanced lifter. Someone who exercises at least four times a week and is looking to continue exercise during pregnancy. Even if you’re not an advanced lifter I would still suggest reading because modifications are always available. Also know that I have been a personal trainer for over 10 years and have a pre and post natal certification. So this is by no means random.
In this blog I will address the stretching/yoga I did, cardio, strength training and warmups. Know that I did not do everything everyday . The nausea really knocked me out sometimes. I did strength training for 4-5 days a week no matter what. But towards the later part of my first trimester I was able to kick it up a notch and maintain a bit more. I listen to my body more than anything. Overdoing my movement would cause extreme exhaustion and nausea so I did have to shorten my walks or move slower in my workouts.
So to start. Stretching/yoga in my first trimester. I’m going to list the stretches that I did. Each one I did for 9 breaths if no discomfort or nausea was triggered. These I pulled directly from my pre and post natal certification.
Warm ups before my workouts during the first trimester. I incorporated some of these stretches like unicorn and rainbow, pigeon pose, gate pose, and butterfly pose. I would also incorporate :
So to warm up before a workout I would walk on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes and then perform these movements. Here is where I would address core work.
Strength training during my first trimester. My strength training was 4-5 days a week. Every workout would consist of 4-6 exercises. Each exercise performing three or more sets with 10 to 12 reps per set . I was sure to incorporate all major muscle groups—legs, chest, back, arms, core). My workouts were similar to the advanced workout program in the MIFIT app. Except I did not change my workouts for the entire first trimester. Some days I had to make adjustments but I kept them the same. There is a sample workout below . These workouts ensured I was hitting every muscle group every week. I don't want any imbalances or anything being neglected. This Benefits pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum recovery. I also want to reiterate what I said above. If you don't exercise and you're planning on becoming pregnant or are pregnant exercise is so important. It will strengthen the muscles you need to pick up your baby and hold your baby. It's going to be a lot harder to strengthen those muscles while you're trying to recover from pregnancy and delivery than if you started now.
Cardio during my first trimester. I stuck with walking my first trimester. I did a little bit of biking and walking on the stair-master, but most days I walked. Towards the later part of my first trimester I started to incorporate it more. I started getting more aches and pains being soo sedentary because I wasn't feeling good. So with spring here and the nausea going away I have been trying to walk almost daily.
Walking helps prepare you for labor and the many walks with the stroller, groceries, laundry, etc.
Climbing stairs. If you live in a house or apartment with stairs, climbing stairs will help you better prepare for many trips up and down with baby, laundry, etc. I found I was getting winded very easily (normal during pregnancy). So i wanted to make sure I was helping myself and working at the cardiovascular levels too.
This may seem like alot to some or not enough to others. But for me personally it was the right mixture. I took advice from professionals and what I learned in my certification. I know that if I move my body I feel better. I can't recommend it enough. We want to be healthy during this time so we can be the best version of ourselves and show up as our best. This benefits everyone around you. I hope this helps you or encourages you during your first trimester. Also to reiterate again. I did not do all of these every day. The only thing I stayed diligent with was strength training 4-5 days a week. I did the other things as much as I felt I could. But I'm really glad I maintained something during the weeks that were challenging for me. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can message me at any time.