The first trimester was all about getting through fatigue, keeping the secret, staying fit and healthy, and trying to continue doing the things I enjoyed pre-pregnancy.
At the end of the first trimester, the exhaustion started to lift and I got the spring back in my step! I wasn't going to be getting any PBs (I was carrying extra weight and PBs were not my goal) but I actually had a lot more energy and felt I could push a bit more than I did in the first trimester.
A shift in training focus
I felt I had the energy and the need to plan my exercise routine better. After feeling a little lost in the first trimester with no sporting event to train for, I set some goals to help me train for a healthy pregnancy, birth and beyond. I would also love to do a triathlon before the end of the year, so the training also linked in with that.
Posture and balance
I started to go to yoga and Pilates and incorporated more of these movements into my own workouts. I didn't go to pregnancy-specific yoga and Pilates classes as the instructors I had were great and accommodating. I wanted to make sure the instructor felt comfortable with me there so I made sure I knew which exercises were good and not so good for me.
Pelvic floor and core training
I continued with pelvic floor exercises and practising ‘connection breathing’, and also put a lot more thought and effort into training my core in the correct way. Exercises focused on reducing risk of lower back pain, incontinence, and to help with birth.
Specific strength training
I definitely lost strength in some of my muscles, but I focused on working my back, core, and glutes in terms of function rather than max strength.
I maintained my cardiovascular fitness through running, swimming and indoor cycling. These activities were also vital for my mental health.
Move often and move well
I did some kind of exercise/movement every day and also importantly moved regularly throughout the day. Not sitting for extended periods at work for example, and active recovery days walking and stretching.
Adjustments for pregnancy fitness training
I delivered and participated in spin classes. I couldn’t hit quite the same gears as I used to but I would still give it a good try! The key is to wear breathable clothing and drink plenty of water.
I continued to go to outdoor boot camp sessions. I armed myself with a repertoire of alternative exercises I could do when ones weren’t appropriate for me. I also took a head torch as it was dark and I didn’t want to trip up.
I was still running by the end of the second trimester. Runs would be between 5-10km but I could still happily swim 3km, so I decided to swim further and more often, and just run as far as I felt like running on that particular day. I’d try to appreciate that I was still getting out there and not worry too much about time. I’d always take my phone with me in case of emergency.
I started to try some home workouts and circuits in my local park. I used mainly resistance bands to do 30-60 minute workouts. I know getting to the gym is not an easy option on maternity leave so I figured if I could start doing some home workouts now, it will be less tough to do once I’ve had the baby.
Pregnancy fitness tips
Doing some cardio and specific strength training is helpful. This will give you a well-rounded training plan but will also be valuable for birth. Do be aware that the hormone relaxin loosens your joints so be careful not to over-stretch.
Don't ignore things that don’t feel right. I definitely could feel the extra weight when running, however I was surprised that it was just harder and slowed me down rather than it being uncomfortable. But if something doesn’t feel right, you might need to reassess. I have turned back on a run because something didn’t feel right.
Plan and practise sleep and food. Getting to and staying asleep became more difficult and I need both of these to exercise effectively. I tried to have a bedtime routine, including listening to podcasts to take my mind off things, not eating too close to bedtime, and a u-shaped pillow helped. I had to eat well in advance of training sessions otherwise training was too uncomfortable as digestion is less efficient. Drink lots of water!
If you're unsure or worried, seek advice from a professional. The female body is amazing and a pregnant body can do a lot more than you might think! But you must look after your body now more than ever as it’s not just you anymore.
Think about why you are exercising. I thought of exercise as a way to keep me and the baby happy, and as a way to prepare me for birth and beyond. Yes I was still doing lots of the things I was doing before pregnancy, but I made some adjustments and additions to make it more relevant for what my body needed.
Take time to connect with your baby. For me, life has been busy with a full-time job, fitness routines, date nights, and friends to see before the baby arrives. When I’m out exercising I like to think of me and my baby as a team; I’ll look after us both and hopefully he’ll enjoy the ride!
Second trimester pregnancy training routine
· 5-10km run x 1-2
· Outdoor bootcamp x 1
· Climbing x 1
· 1.5-3km Swim x 2
· Strength based gym session or park/home workout x 2
· Yoga/Pilates x 1-2
· Occasional spin class
About the author: Sophie Kennedy is a Sundried ambassador.