Functional First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises - Part 2

Functional First Trimester Pregnancy Exercises

Have you been doing, or planning on doing, the same workouts all the way up until labour? You're not alone. But now is the time to make the required changes and only include functional first trimester pregnancy exercises into your workouts.

Not only does your health depend on it, but also that of your baby. Raising your body temperature too high can lead to health concerns for baby.

Performing planks when pregnant can lead to debilitating back pain. Over-stretching can cause injury due to increased relaxin.

Here is why and how you how things change with each week of pregnancy.

First Trimester Exercise

Early pregnancy is a challenging time as the reality of pregnancy kicks in with every slight change in your body.

At the same time, you are still trying to hide your growing belly and keep your pregnancy secret throughout this first trimester.

Avoiding drinking alcohol and eating certain foods can be a giveaway for your close friends.

No longer should you be attending those boot camps or high-intensity sessions that include potentially dangerous high-impact, high-intensity and even contact activities.

Your Goals in The First Trimester

It is the sudden change in life-style choices, habits and training that requires you to ease into your first trimester.

The impulse to continue with your pre-pregnancy workouts is where you must accept that times have changed. You are now exercising for two!

Your First Trimester Exercises Should Focus on:

1. Core loading
2. Hip loading
3. Scapular loading
4. Pectoral loading

Let's take that one step further and explain why these play such an important role in how I design my prenatal workouts.

1. Core loading

Your core refers to your pelvic floor, abdominals and diaphragm.

Your Core

Your core-strengthening exercises should start early on in pregnancy. But please, never do those old traditional and very harmful sit-ups or planking.

Your Pelvic Floor

One of the major changes from your pre-pregnancy workouts is that now you must focus on incorporating Kegel exercises (pelvic floor exercises) into your workouts.

This is why I have included a guided pelvic floor video for every week of your pregnancy in my online program.

The earlier you start your pelvic floor exercises the better. You see, strengthening your pelvic-floor will help prevent incontinence during pregnancy and stop (or at least reduce) the severity of back and pelvic pain.

Your Diaphragm

My functional training program places great importance on the diaphragm. So much so that proper diaphragmatic breathing is one of the most important exercises you can do when pregnant.

Again, this is likely an exercise you would have never done pre-pregnancy and why functional prenatal training must take high priority.

2. Hip loading (glutes, low back)

So how does this 'hip loading' fit into the demands of pregnancy? Did you know that your back is significantly more at risk (when pregnant) during unsupported forward flexion than before you were pregnant?

For this reason, I have a dedicated section on my online program dedicated to 'Body Care' where I show you the exact technique you must use for the various activities.

Such as bending over:

1. To put a child in a car seat.
2. At a change table.
3. To pick-up a child.
4. To pick up a child out of the bath.
5. To pick-up shopping bags.
6. While cleaning.
...... and many more common daily activities.

3. Scapular loading

So while your core is a priority, you must not neglect the importance of strengthening your upper back and stretching the anterior chest muscles.

The 'rounding of your shoulders' can become a problem when pregnant. The exercises I have included in my workouts are dedicated to helping to prevent such problems.

4. Pectoral loading

In preparation for motherhood; you must start now in strengthening your pectorals (chest) as many activities you will perform as a new mother will involve these muscles.

As your baby will spend a lot of time on the floor, so will you.

And one functional aspect of training for a new mother is to prevent injury each time you push-up from the floor, hold your baby up, or any other activity that requires use of these muscles.

Next post is on Functional Pregnancy Exercise in the Second Trimester.

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