The first trimester is the most critical time in pregnancy as it is vital for development of your baby.
It is within that period that your baby’s major organs and nervous system will begin to form as it will be fully developed by the end of the first three months. Also during the period, the risk of miscarriage is significant. It is necessary to carefully choose a healthy lifestyle; nutritious foods and a carefully tailored workout routine to stay healthy and fit especially within this period.
Ultimately, the most common concern amongst pregnant women is whether exercising will induce a miscarriage. Exercise during the first trimester is good and safe but always speak to your doctor to make sure that you are in a healthy enough state for the exercise.
Aside from stress relief, there are many reasons why you might wish to start training or increase the amount of exercise you engage in during your first trimester. Exercises help you regulate weight gain and ensure it stays at a minimum; it is also good for your fetus as research has shown that exercise can enhance the maturation of their nerves and brain.
Working out during pregnancy can be tricky though, your baby 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.
Here are some essential and low intensity yet highly effective pregnancy workouts for the first trimester:
Prenatal Yoga: this is one of the best exercises you can do during your pregnancy and afterwards as this helps build strength and balance, reduces blood pressure and teaches you breathing rhythm that will help during delivery. It also helps with cardio and flexibility which will in turn help reduce pain during delivery. This kind of yoga cannot be taught by regular yoga instructors as the
pregnancy is specifically designed for pregnancy so it is to be taught by certified pregnancy exercise specialists. At least once a week for about 10 minutes or more as long as you’re not overexerting by pulling muscles or getting overheated.
Squats: this is an amazing way to build your lower body strength and durability in the groin region as well as reduce pain during child birth. Avoid locking your knees while doing squats. The routine should be done 3 times a week between 10-15 repetitions.
Pilates: this exercise can improve core strength and balance which may reduce the risk of falling as well as address the issue of lower back pain associated with weight gain. It is known to help increase blood flow and when taught by an expert is safe for women at any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant people who are accustomed to Pilates can often maintain their usual routine during the first trimester while avoiding poses where you lay on your back, twist your midsection (belly) and raising the legs above the head and heart as well as being still for extended periods.
Swimming & Water Aerobics: water/pool is your friend during pregnancy as the water is soothing and it is a great time to tone your body; the best part is that this exercise puts no strain on any joints as it is a non-impact activity yet very effective. Some cultures recommend that floating in water during pregnancy help relieve the strain on your body. 4 times a week for nothing more than 30 minutes of swimming session is an ideal routine.
Stationary bike: this is a significantly less risk and healthier alternative to standard cycling due to the risk of falling and injury. For the first weeks, do the routine or 10-15 minutes then gradually extend it to 30-60 minutes at a moderate comfortable intensity. Late in the first trimester, you may notice your center of gravity changing, check to see if the height of your handlebars is properly supporting your back & adjust if needed.
Aerobics: Best form of aerobics for first trimester exercise is dancing which should not involve jumping, leaping or twirling. But if you don’t like dancing, consider joining a group aerobics class.
Walking: this makes for great pregnancy exercise as it is one of the most gentle, low-impacts forms of exercise especially when done on an even flat surface. A simple stroll gets you moving, picking up the pace gets your heart pumping and swinging your arms will help build the upper body strength. People not used to taking walks should begin with 10 minutes walks once a week then gradually build it up to taking a 30-minute walk 3-5 times a week. Avoid unsupportive footwear and prolonged walks.
Kegels exercises: also known as pelvic floor exercises aims at strengthen the muscles that support abdominal organs including the uterus, vagina, bowels and bladder. Its also helps to maintain control of bladder function and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. The kegel muscles are the muscles surrounding the vagina and
this routine entails you inserting your fingers, squeezing the muscles and holding contraction for 5-10 seconds before relaxing. This routine has to be done on an empty bladder doing 10-20 of these contractions, three or four times a day. Other exercises which could be observed during this first trimester period includes: Light weighting, Spinning, Jogging, and strength training but notwithstanding any exercise choice, ensure to talk to your doctor to ensure you are in a healthy condition for
exercising. Also ensure to get enough rest, stay hydrated, avoid exercising if you feel dizzy or lightheaded, avoid high-risk activities and don’t overexert yourself.