Exercising During Your Second and Third Trimester
By Kristin Anderson, PT, DPT, OCS, CLT
As your baby continues to grow, you are going to be experiencing more wonderful changes in your body. Your abdomen is growing, meaning that the abdominal muscles are no longer in a prime position to work or help support you. Hormones are creating increased laxity of your joints to prepare to make room for the growing baby in your pelvis. Your diaphragm (breathing muscle) is rising, meaning there is less room for you to expand your lungs. You may notice that it is easier to get out of breath, even just walking up the stairs! To top it off, your heart is having to work harder because it is working to circulate 50% more blood volume then it normally does!
Our bodies are amazing and we need to appreciate the changes that our bodies are going through. Here are some guidelines for exercise in your second and third trimester. Please refer back to our article on exercise in the first trimester in our blogs!
· Do not lie on your back: This should occur starting at around 12 weeks. However if you are experiencing dizziness, nausea, visual changes, and headaches you need to get off your back immediately. Why? The baby is now getting to the size that they could cause compression to a major vein in your body reducing blood flow to you and the baby.
· Do not lie on your stomach: This typically starts feeling uncomfortable to women starting the second trimester. We want to avoid these postures and positions to help reduce compression to the baby.
· No crunches: This should start as early as 8 weeks gestation. Our abdomen is growing and expanding, meaning our muscles are at a disadvantage to contract. If we are using the wrong muscles this puts us at a greater risk for developing a more severe separation of the abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) later on in pregnancy.
o What can you do? Doing upright core or being on all fours is a great way to still exercise your core in a way to help support you and the baby.
· No deep twists: Twisting is still important because we need to turn to live our lives. Gentle twists and turns are still appropriate. However as the baby grows and is head down deep twists can feel uncomfortable to you and the baby. For example: if you are in warrior II twist to the side where your pelvis can be open versus closed.
· Rate of perceived exertion: Remember that you should be able to hold a conversation during exercise. This allows you to know you and the baby are getting enough oxygen to your organs and tissues. Slow down if you are not able to do this.