Pregnancy Exercise During First Trimester: Do’s & Don’ts
Thankfully, nature often times our energy levels during early pregnancy to ensure we get the rest we need. While it’s so important to continue staying active, there are certainly some important do’s and don’ts for practicing pregnancy exercise during your first trimester.
Do Listen to Your Body
Experts worldwide agree that a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week will keep you and baba healthy and strong. This is not to say that you have to religiously stick to this advice regardless of how you feel nor that you have to do it all at once!
Ideally, you should split up your exercise by doing something active for 10 minutes three times each day. Your body will tell you exactly how far you can go on any given day, and whether you need to tone it down or up a notch.
So, learn to listen to your very wise body and try to enjoy every one of those 150 minutes of pregnancy exercise. If you don’t enjoy them, don’t force yourself. Your body knows best!
Do the activities you love
Unless the nausea and dizziness that affects some of us during the first trimester prevent you from exercising, try to keep up your normal pre-pregnancy physical activity or exercise. The changes your body will be experiencing should in no way stop you from enjoying your favourite sport, your light jog, your yoga class or those evening walks with your partner or preferred canine companion. As long as you feel comfortable, continuing with your daily exercise routine will do you and baby a world of good.
Do organise your activity around your peak energy periods
If you’ve consistently exercised prior to pregnancy, you’ll know whether a 6 a.m. jog works best for you or whether you prefer to leave your exercise routine until after dinner. Remember, though, that the hormonal changes your body undergoes during pregnancy could very well end up throwing your perfect schedule out of whack and forcing you to adjust to a completely new regime.
For instance, if you’ve always sneaked a bit of time at the gym after work but afternoons are precisely the time of the day during pregnancy you feel most tired and nauseous, you’ll probably need to get up that little bit earlier when your energy levels might be at their peak.
Don’t ignore pain or exhaustion
Once you learn to adapt to the new demands your body puts on you during pregnancy, you can apply auto-control and go with the flow. However, if at any point should you experience any discomfort or pain, extreme breathlessness or a very rapid or irregular heartbeat during pregnancy exercise, you should stop what you are doing and seek medical help from your doctor, a sports medicine doctor, physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist.
And even if you feel confident about your pregnancy exercise, it is wise to check in with your doctor regularly, talk to your personal trainers, yoga instructors and to any other qualified professional that can help you keep in the right track.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
We all know how easy it is to get carried away while exercising and forget to hydrate appropriately. While practicing exercise, but particularly during pregnancy exercise, it is essential not to become overheated and avoid dehydration to prevent your blood pressure from falling to low, fainting or similar symptoms.
And as obvious as it may seem, let us emphasise the need to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise. Yes, after exercise as well. Continue drinking liquids after your pregnancy exercise even if you do not feel thirsty. This will help you stay hydrated.
Don’t push yourself during weeks 10, 11 and 12.
It is during the later part of your first trimester, that your body changes will become increasingly more prominent – your breasts and tummy will grow bigger, and the hormones will be playing their emotional game on you, making you feel happy one moment and sad the next. Don’t worry – these feelings are normal and should settle down.
However, it is also during this time, that your nausea and dizziness will begin to subside, allowing to slowly recover your energy levels. So, this is the perfect time to design a smart exercise routine that will prepare you for the big day and months ahead!
You’ve got wisdom to share, I’m sure. So please leave your number 1 tip for a happy, healthy pregnancy in the comments below. Let us know how many weeks you are and what you recommend.
If you feel you could do with a little guidance throughout your workout, our pregnancy exercise DVD< will walk you through the safest and most effective exercises you can do during these important months.