Exercise During Your Second Trimester
During the second trimester (weeks 14–26), you may feel better than at any other time during your pregnancy. Continue to monitor your body’s reaction to exercise, and if you feel good enough to do so, consider increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts. Also keep the following potential modifications and other tips in mind:
- Sometime during this trimester, you want to shop for a new sports bra, because your existing one is probably getting too tight.
- If you feel unbalanced during these weeks, consider discontinuing any activity that can throw you off balance, like gymnastics, tennis, downhill skiing, skating, horseback riding, trail biking, and hiking in the woods over rutty trails. Replace with swimming, water aerobics, or a stationary bike, which doesn’t require excellent balance.
- Because your baby is growing and becoming more vulnerable if you fall or are hit in the abdomen, your healthcare provider may ask you to stop ball sports (soccer, basketball, racquetball, and so on), contact sports, and outdoor biking. (Note that because of your expanding abdomen, you may find a recumbent bike more comfortable than a traditional stationary bike.)
- If you’re doing step aerobics, make sure that your step is no higher than 4 inches off the ground, unless you feel absolutely stable and balanced with a higher step.
- If you’re rowing, you may find that this super-intense sport is too fatiguing for the rest of your pregnancy. Pay careful attention to how you’re feeling and how well you and your baby are gaining weight.
- If you’re weightlifting, don’t overwork your thigh muscles, because machines that work the thighs also tend to place stress on the ligaments around the pelvis and cause discomfort.
- After the fourth month, avoid lying on your back for long periods, or you run the risk of feeling faint from the pressure your uterus puts on the vena cava (the large vein that sends blood from your lower body to your heart). If you feel faint while on your back, roll over on your side to reestablish blood flow.
- If you’re doing yoga, remember to modify poses for comfort and avoid any moves that cause pain. After the first trimester, use a wedge or pillows to raise the upper body when doing supine exercises.
- Many healthcare providers recommend that you stop competing in sports events during the second trimester, although this depends on your sport and how you’re feeling. If you’re in your second trimester and want to continue participating in a competitive sport, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
- Be careful not to overstretch or make sudden moves during this trimester (and the next and for about five months after you deliver). While you’re pregnant, a hormone called relaxin gets you ready for childbirth by relaxing all your ligaments and joints. Use extra care to make sure you don’t overstress your joints with fast and ballistic movements.