I’m about to finish off my second trimester and wanted to share some of the things that have surprised me about working out in this trimester, as well as what has worked.
Coming into this trimester I wasn’t sure what to expect- I knew this is the period where women have a lot of good intentions, but a lot can derail their plans for exercise. Some women begin to experience some debilitating pregnancy symptoms in this trimester (lower back pain, sciatica, and heartburn/acid reflux all come to mind) and this is also when a lot of women start to get heavy into the planning stage- exercise is competing for time with childbirth classes, nursery prep, and a big push at work before baby.
I’ve been so lucky to have been able to continue to work out regularly- but I’ve been surprised by some things, and have found that a few things have really made exercise work FOR me this trimester.
Second Trimester Surprises:
Even though I don’t always feel good, exercise feels great.
I’m still (stilllll, ugh) dealing with bad nausea on some days. However, unlike in the first trimester, exercise still feels good on the days when food doesn’t. I’m so glad about this—on the days I feel the WORST exercising is often the hour I feel the BEST.
Walking is maybe the MOST uncomfortable exercise.
I need to eat crow here. I, along with almost every other perinatal trainer, have said for years that walking is a PERFECT exercise for pregnancy- it’s low impact, cardio, and can encourage the baby to move head down. However, I’ve found that walking is the most uncomfortable exercise I’ve tried! Within 3 minutes on the treadmill my round ligament pain fires up, and won’t stop until I do. I’ve been still doing some walking and just trying to tolerate the RLP as I find getting outside to exercise really helps my sanity, but literally every other exercise I’ve been doing feels better than walking at this point.
I’m getting stronger.
I’ve been asked a dozen times if women can build muscle during pregnancy and while I always said yes I now know it’s true. I’m stronger right now than I was in the months before I got pregnant—nothing like the idea of labor looming for me to get serious again about lifting weights!
Second Trimester Take Aways:
Variety of exercise keeps me interested
I know a lot of women are happy to stick to one type of exercise, but I’ve found that in my second trimester I’ve craved and loved variety. Over the course of a week I’m often choosing from the following types of workouts: Pilates, walking, running, yoga, weights at the gym, Oh Baby combo class, water aerobics, weights at home, barre3. So far this has helped keep things fresh, and I think has helped keep me healthy and free from any repetitive use/joint problems as well.
Hourly goal each week
Part of why the variety works well for me is that every week of my second trimester I start the week with an hourly goal for how much I want to workout. Generally I shoot for six hours of exercise a week- about half of this is in an Oh Baby class, and half I do on my own. Having an hourly goal for the week keeps me focused, but also gives me freedom to stick to less intensive exercises on weeks that I’m not feeling great. This system has really worked for me, and I plan to try it out in the third trimester as well.
What kind of exercise worked for you in your second trimester? Any surprises about what didn’t feel good?
-Kathleen, co-owner Oh Baby! Fitness