Pregnancy Exercise in the Second Trimester (or why I had to give up running and am totally OK with that)
Hi there! I’m Becky Striepe from Glue and Glitter, and I posted here a few weeks ago about my favorite pregnancy workout and resources for a fit pregnancy. Now that I’m in my second trimester, my body and my workout routine are changing, and I thought I’d share an update here with you guys!
The second trimester is what a lot of folks call the “feel-good” trimester. Your baby bump isn’t big enough yet to cause your too much discomfort, you’re probably out of the woods in terms of morning sickness, and you tend to see a rebound in your energy levels.
Of course, everyone’s body is different, so if you’re in your second trimester, and this doesn’t describe you at all, that is totally OK. What I’ve been learning every day is that what’s most important is listening to your body. I’ve also discovered that exercise is more important than ever, now that the changes to my body are more noticeable.
Running in the Second Trimester
Some runners keep it up through almost their whole pregnancies, but for me this didn’t feel right. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you!
As your hormones rage during pregnancy, your muscles tend to get a bit looser, and for me this made running very uncomfortable. I have a history of knee and ankle problems, and I’d much rather trade running for walking than risk a sprained ankle that prevents me from getting any exercise at all. If you can still run without discomfort, keep running, mama! Maybe do a mile for me, too, OK?
Walking: The Ultimate Pregnancy Workout
Since I’m not running these days, I’ve switched to walking instead. Walking is something that almost any pregnant woman can practice. It’s low-impact, it’s free, and you can start as slowly as you need. Talk to your doctor of course, but I bet she will encourage you to strap on some sneakers and get out there!
If you haven’t been exercising, start with short walks and add distance if and when you can. If walking around the block is all that you can handle, then walk around the block and feel good that you did something healthy for your body and your baby.
I started out with 3-mile walks but have cut this back to a mile and a half to 2 miles 3-5 times a week, depending on my energy level, since I’ve started doing yoga and weights more often.
Yoga, Weights, and Circulation
Did you know that now that your baby is bigger, he is actually decreasing your body’s circulation? That is one of the reasons that your feet and ankles might be swelling a bit. I had a very scary afternoon where, after sitting criss-cross on the floor for an hour or so while I had lunch and tea, I stood up and my right ankle and foot had blown up like a balloon! Sudden swelling like this can signify something a serious condtion called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), so I called my doctor, who told me to elevate my foot for 2 hours and call back. Elevating helped, so she was able to rule out DVT and had me elevate for the whole rest of the evening and overnight.
Since then, my right ankle and foot have swollen up a few times, though not as badly as that first time. Don’t sit criss-cross, ladies! Elevating does help, but the other remedy I’ve found is getting active! Just 20-30 minutes of weights and yoga help reduce my swelling significantly. This is especially beneficial after you’ve gone for a run or walk or been on your feet for any length of time. For some reason, I even swell on walks, but weights and yoga seem to help alleviate it.
Here’s the routine that I’ve been trying to do every day:
- 100 Up
- Squats with overhead raises using light hand weights – 3 sets of 10
- Lunges with bicep curls using light hand weights – 3 sets of 10 (5 on each side)
- Plies in second position with lateral raises using light hand weights – 3 sets of 10
- Triangle pose
- Warrior II pose
- Wide legged forward bend
- Cat/Cow – 3 rounds of 10 sets with a downward facing dog in between
- Toe stretches
- Seated forward bend
- Seated wide-legged forward bend
- Yoga squat
- Tree Stand
- Seated ankle rolls – 10 in each direction
- Seated deep breathing – don’t sit criss-cross for too long, but for a few deep breaths it seems to be OK
The idea is to get your body moving and your blood pumping, so choose weight and yoga moves that you like to do! When your exercise, you increase your circulation, and that helps balance out some of the changes that pregnancy brings to your circulatory system.