These pregnancy workouts at home will help you make the right decisions for you and your baby when it comes to fitness, exercise and training.
We have also included a week by week guide to training during the first Trimester, alongside advice about the benefits and other factors to watch out for.
PREGNANCY WORKOUTS AT HOME
This is a guide, so you should always consult a professional coach that can help you analysise your respective fitness level and program accordingly.
REASONS WHY EXERCISE IN PREGNANCY IS IMPORTANT
Exercise in pregnancy – benefit or risk?
Many expectant mothers ask this question, and it is only natural that they may be afraid of moving and exercising with a growing baby in their bellies.
However, exercise in accordance with consultation with the doctor, combined with the input of your trainer is in fact very beneficial for pregnant women. Not only will you feel fit, your mood will also improve and exercise will also serve to prevent possible complications.
EXERCISE IN PREGNANCY WILL HELP YOU BECAUSE…
… Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes
Exercise during pregnancy helps to reduce gestational or gestational diabetes, ie diabetes.
Long-term untreated diabetes with prolonged high blood sugar can be manifested by frequent urination, thirst, increased fatigue, more frequent infections and poor wound healing. When a mother has gestational diabetes, the risk of the newborn also having the condition is increased.
Studies have shown that regular exercise three times a week in women with gestational diabetes has reduced the chances of giving birth to such a baby by up to 58 percent.
… Reduces the risk of complications during childbirth
A study conducted in 2017 showed that women who were actively involved in exercise during pregnancy had a lower risk of unplanned cesarean section. In addition, exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of procedures such as episiotomy.
Stronger muscles and a heart that feels fit can also help you to give birth more easily. One of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy is controlled breathing, which helps with managing pain. Women who have a longer birth will benefit from improved fitness and stamina.
… Accelerates postpartum regeneration
Active mothers of newborns have a faster return to the body before pregnancy compared to those who did not engage in sports. The strength and muscles they maintained during pregnancy retain muscle memory. Exercise during pregnancy also helps to avoid extreme excesses of weight.
… Improves mood and mental well-being
Have you heard of prenatal depression? For some, expecting a baby is one of the most beautiful times of life, but some mothers may also feel anxious and scared about what a new family member will entain. Mood swings are a common phenomenon for expectant mothers. Here, too, exercise helps. It awakens serotonin, a substance that is associated with having and maintaining a good mood.
Outdoor exercise is also associated with mental well-being during pregnancy. Natural light has an antidepressant effect.
… Helps with back pain
According to statistics, up to two thirds of pregnant women complain of back pain.
A growing baby is a burden, especially for the lower spine. Even in this case, the answer is exercise.
Exercise in the second half of pregnancy in particular is associated with considerable relief from back pain. For example, yoga, stretching, pelvic exercises or exercising in water are suitable. Regular exercise during pregnancy strengthens the muscles that help with the aforementioned pain.
… Improves sleep
Another positive effect of exercise during pregnancy is its effect on sleep. In the advanced stages of pregnancy, women often have difficulty finding a position that is comfortable. Pleasant fatigue from regular exercise helps to sleep more peacefully, you can fall asleep faster and after waking up you will feel more relaxed,
… Gives you energy
Here, too, exercise plays an important role in pregnancy, as it strengthens the cardiovascular system. Simply put, it fights the feeling of fatigue and supplies energy even in times of stress. Stronger muscles help in everyday situations, from grocery shopping to working at work. You don’t have to put as much effort into them as a woman who doesn’t do any sports or exercise.
Of course, especially exercise during pregnancy should be done in moderation. But a walk in the fresh air or pregnancy yoga can make a big difference in how you feel during the day.
… Helps with constipation
A pregnant woman’s intestines often become clogged due to elevated levels of the hormone progesterone and an enlarging uterus. Regular exercise and a high fiber diet are an effective helping hand in this case. Simply put, active body = active intestines.
It is also important to keep your diet, vitamins and minerals in balance during pregnancy.
… Strengthens immunity
Regular exercise during pregnancy, which does not have to be a high-intensity workout, reduces the risk of colds, helps regulate body temperature, blood circulation and hormonal imbalances. Many researchers explain that exercise, combined with a temporary increase in our body temperature, is a great prevention against an increased incidence of bacteria.
Due to the movement, antibodies and white blood cells are released into the bloodstream more quickly, which helps in recognizing the disease in the body.
It is important to listen to your own body and not push exercise to extremes. When exercising, treat yourself to comfortable maternity clothes in which you will feel good.
Sources of information: Instagym, diabetik.sk, parents.com, babycenter.com
PREGNANCY WORKOUTS AT HOME
As long as you’re not considered a high-risk pregnancy, physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, says you can continue with your regular exercise routine in the first trimester.
The foundation of a well-rounded prenatal fitness routine should include at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity each week and 2 to 3 days of strength training exercises that target the major muscle groups.
It should also focus on specific exercises that help make pregnancy easier and prepare you for labor and childbirth. (It may seem far off — but it will be here before you know it!)
One area of importance, says Jeffcoat, is to work on body awareness to prepare for changes in your posture. “Doing an exercise like the pelvic curl is a great way to begin working on spinal mobility and strengthening the abdominal muscles that will support your belly as it grows,” she says.
Pregnancy Workouts at Home – Pelvic curl
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart.
- Take a deep breath in to prepare, then exhale as you tuck your pelvis (your “hips”) so that you’re making an impression of your spine on the floor.
- Keep that tucked position as you continue the exhale and roll through the movement so that you are lifting your spine out of that impression, one vertebra at a time.
- Stop when you reach your shoulder blades.
- Inhale at the top of the movement, then exhale as you fold your body back down, placing one vertebra at a time back onto the floor until you get to your starting position on the back of your pelvis (your “hips,” as many people will refer to them as).
- Do 12 to 15 reps. For an added challenge, bring your legs all the way together.
Pregnancy Workouts at Home – Pelvic brace
Do this throughout pregnancy as long as you don’t have pelvic floor symptoms such as painful intercourse or urinary urgency.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart.
- Place your pelvis and low back into a “neutral” position. To find this, make sure you’re resting on the back of your pelvis and creating a small space in your lower back (your back should not be pressed into the floor).
- Inhale to prepare, then exhale to perform a Kegel contraction by gently closing the openings (the urethra, the vagina, and anus). As you are performing this contraction, notice how your lower abdominal muscles want to work with that.
- Slightly draw the lower abs in with the Kegel. Inhale, relax the abs and pelvic floor, exhale repeat contraction.
- Do 2 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of 3- to 5-second holds, once or twice a day.
Pregnancy Workouts at Home – Kneeling pushups
This move targets core and upper body strengthening together.
- Lie flat on your stomach, then push up onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips.
- Pull in your abs (the pelvic brace), and then slowly lower your chest toward the floor as you inhale.
- Exhale as you press back up.
- Start with 6 to 10 and gradually work up to 20 to 24 reps.
Pregnancy Workouts at Home – Squats
The first trimester is also an ideal time to get squatting! If you have access to the gym, you can also use the leg press machine. Squats — especially bodyweight squats — can be done throughout your entire pregnancy.
Plus, since squats strengthen all the muscles in your lower body — including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings — Jeffcoat says keeping these muscles strong is a great way to protect your back, so you use your legs instead of your back when lifting.
- Stand in front of a couch, with your back facing the couch. Begin with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Use the couch as a guide to ensure proper form.
- Squat down like you’re about to sit down on the couch, but come back up just as your thighs start to touch it.
- Make sure you take 5 seconds to go down 3 seconds to come back up.
- Exhale as you squat; inhale as you stand.
- Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Pregnancy Workouts at Home – Bicep curls
This simple — yet effective — move is another top pick throughout pregnancy. Jeffcoat says bicep curls are a key move to add to your workouts since you need to prep your arms for repeatedly lifting and holding your baby.
- Grab 5- to 10-pound dumbbells and stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your knees slightly bent.
- Exhale as you slowly bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells toward your shoulders.
- Inhale and slowly lower the weights back down.
- Take 3 seconds to lift the dumbbells and 5 seconds to lower.
- Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Some variations and additional strength training moves to include in the first trimester, according to Brittany Robles, MD, CPT include:
- lunges with weight
- glute bridge (if you’re experiencing any pelvic pain or have a history of pelvic pain with pregnancies, you can also add ball squeezes in between your thighs during the glute bridges)
- standard pushups
When it comes to what you should avoid during the first trimester, Robles says to put your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on hold since it’s an easy way to exhaust yourself early in pregnancy.
Robles also recommends avoiding any exercise where you can experience trauma, such as contact sports.
EXERCISE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK
Exercise is a great way to maintain or even improve your mental and physical health during pregnancy.
This also applies to exercise in the first trimester. It is appropriate to choose the so-called low-impact exercises that are safe during pregnancy.
These include, for example, walking, yoga and swimming. Cardio and strengthening of selected parts with a coach is also suitable, in which you know what to focus on and what will not hurt you or your baby, but on the contrary, it will benefit.
Let’s take a look at how often and which specific routines and exercises are appropriate for exercise in the first trimester.
1st and 2nd week of pregnancy – how to do it?
If you are not used to exercising before pregnancy, do not worry, the first trimester is also suitable for you to start regular exercise. However, start with caution, for example with a 20-30 minute workout 3-5 times a week. It is suitable for you to exercise with a coach, even online, who will guide you through the appropriate exercises.
If you played sports regularly before getting pregnant, all the better! Your body is used to a certain load, so you won’t be surprised by anything new.
Intense strength exercises are not the most suitable during pregnancy. The belly needs to be saved a little. Also, watch videos with trainers focused on exercising in the first trimester, which will guide you on the right path.
3rd week of pregnancy – the beginning of changes
As soon as you meet the new “wonder” in your stomach, you are already thinking about all the physical changes that pregnancy will bring.
It is completely normal and it is necessary to keep in mind that the more comfortable you are, the better you will experience this miracle of nature and also your baby. Staying fit is a great way to stay in good spirits and health. Exercise will also help you prevent extreme weight gain.
4th week of pregnancy – movement against unpleasant symptoms
Regular exercise in the first trimester of pregnancy also helps to suppress some of the most unpleasant symptoms, such as constipation, weakness, or back pain. You will learn more about the benefits of exercise throughout pregnancy in this article.
Week 5 – swimming
Swimming is another exercise that brings many benefits not only during pregnancy. The baby will help her future mother stay fit and maintain a good mood in a safe, low-impact way. It also works well for breathing and oxygen circulation in the body for you and your baby.
We appreciate that this is not suitable for pregnancy workouts at home for most people apart from the very lucky!
Week 6 – fresh air
Try this week for regular walks in the fresh air. After 15 minutes your mood will improve and you will feel fresher, you will see. Don’t forget to hydrate throughout the day.
Week 7 – create a schedule
Maternity leave has not yet begun, so you probably have antenatal duties associated with work and other daily activities up-to-date.
It is high time to make an exercise schedule that will make it an integral part of your life. Try to choose the time when it suits you best and you don’t have to do other duties – stick to it! Every step counts, so instead of public transport or a car you can walk, use stairs instead of a lift.
Week 8 – What exercises to avoid?
Although exercise in the first trimester is mainly about the positive effects on your body, you also need to know what exercises are good to avoid.
Do not hold your breath during exercise, omit jerky movements, even those where you have to twist and turn a lot and strain your joints. Don’t overdo it with balance exercises that can hurt your abdomen. And stop whenever you feel that a given exercise is above your limit.
Week 9 – Relax
Don’t forget to get enough rest. It can also be active recovery – go for a walk or a slow trot. Don’t overdo it with any exercise. A few minutes a day is enough, regularity is especially important.
Also don’t forget gentle stretching – here again pay attention to the limits of your body. If there are days when it just doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter at all. Relax with a good book.
Week 10 – Better skip these activities
During pregnancy, horse riding, fast skiing and high-intensity cycling are not recommended due to the increased risk. Also avoid contact sports, diving and high-intensity training in general.
Week 11 – Try Pilates
Have you tried Pilates yet? It helps with balance and back pain as well as strengthening muscles. When exercising during pregnancy, you should avoid positions that require lying on your back and rolling in the middle of the body. Add pilates to your schedule once a week.
Week 12 – find motivation
Do you feel the pregnancy much more than a week ago or the day before yesterday? Don’t really want to exercise? Try to talk to your friend as well and give yourself a little challenge or practice with an online coach.
Week 13 – when to take a break?
If you train in moderation, or with a coach who will advise you on what and how to train, rest days are not necessary.
However, if you feel that you need to recharge your energy and want to have a relaxing day with your feet on the table, treat yourself to it. You should definitely consider taking a break from regular exercise if you feel pain in your pelvis, if you notice any bleeding, if you feel dehydrated or if you feel hot flashes.
Sources from: Instagym, Whattoexpect.com, Healthline.com
We hope these pregnancy workouts at home will help to stay physically and mentally fit during this important time.