First Trimester Pregnancy Workouts that are Safe

prenatal exercise

First Trimester Pregnancy Workouts that are Safe

So let's chat about safe first trimester pregnancy workouts as it is extremely important that you start off your pregnancy knowing what you should and should not be doing. It is highly recommended that you only include safe pregnancy workouts into your fitness plan.

Your body will be changing constantly and what you did before pregnancy may not be suited to you now.

Your health, and that of your growing baby, will become your primary focus in early pregnancy.

As a pregnant mama, your workouts must be specifically designed for the body changes you are experiencing. You may not be experiencing significant pregnancy weight gain yet, but soon it will impact on your workouts.

Six Workouts Perfect for Your First Trimester

1. Swimming
Swimming when pregnant is one of the safest full-body exercises you can do. Make sure you adhere to all safety guidelines when pregnant.

Swimming provide you with a great muscle-building workout with cardiovascular benefits. It is an excellent low-impact workout if you get lower back pain.

2. Walking
I loved to walk during my pregnancy. Running is not ideal due to the high impact but I still know some women who enjoyed their running sessions.

Make sure you wear a comfortable pair of supportive shoes and bra.

3. Strength Training
Whether you choose to work out in a gym or at home; strength training is typically safe if you follow guidelines for pregnant women.

And remember not to lie on your back or hold weights over your stomach.

4. Prenatal Yoga
I have been teaching yoga for twenty years and many of those classes were with pregnant women. Not all poses or exercises are safe when pregnant.

So be sure to check if your instructor is qualified to teach pregnant women. Oh, and skip the Bikram and hot yoga classes.

5. Stationary Cycling
You may experience balance issues when pregnant so try to move to a stationary bike or spin classes when pregnant.

6. Prenatal Pilates
As with yoga, only participate in prenatal Pilates classes. Some Pilates moves that have you lying on your back or stomach must be avoided.

Pregnancy Exercises for the First Trimester

1. Pregnancy Exercise 1: All Fours - Core Activation

Sets: 2

Reps: lift pelvic floor and engage abdominals, then release x 10

Rest: 15 seconds

2. Pregnancy Exercise 2: Side Plank Lifts

Sets: 2

Reps: 10 each side

Rest: 15 seconds

3. Pregnancy Exercise 3: Clams

Sets: 2

Reps: 10 each side

Rest: 15 seconds

4. Pregnancy Exercise 4: Glute Side Lifts

Sets: 2

Reps: 10 each side

Rest: 15 seconds

5. Pregnancy Exercise 5: Bridge

Sets: 2

Reps: 10

Rest: 15 seconds

Stay Safe!

Your first step is be aware of all the 'so-called' pregnancy exercise experts that you will come across online. The majority have no formal education or qualification in teaching exercises to pregnant women.

This puts many mamas at risk of causing harm to themselves and also baby by participating in these dangerous workouts.

So please, set the right standards from the start of your pregnancy and ONLY choose prenatal workouts from qualified pregnancy exercise trainers. This is the exact reason I started PregActive back in 2015 - to give mamas safe pregnancy workouts!

I recommend you include low impact exercises into your workouts. Some good choices are walking, prenatal yoga, swimming, and water aerobics.

If you wish to continue with some more cardio-focused and vigorous workouts then try my cardio workouts and maybe start to avoid high-impact exercise that involves running.

First Trimester Pregnancy Workout: Video 1

While you may not be showing that you're pregnant, you will sure be experiencing some body changes that remind you each day.

Learning that you are pregnant is an exciting time. Along with the excitement comes a new wave of uncertainty and anxiety about what you can and cannot do when pregnant.

Workout Video 2

This next workout is for you if you enjoy Pilates.


1st Trimester Body Changes

During pregnancy your body will change more than at any other time in your life.

It is vital that you start off on the right note when it comes to exercising while pregnant. If you're looking for a pregnancy-specific online workouts then be sure to check out my program that is used and trusted by women all around the world.

There are exercises you must avoid as they can be down right dangerous to both you and baby.

In fact, your health care professional will recommend that you participate in an approved prenatal program.

As you you progress through each week of your 1st trimester and pregnancy, your body will change, and so should your workouts. Exercising when pregnant is highly recommended as long as you participate in safe pregnancy workouts and prenatal classes.

Your Goals Have Changed.

What you do, and don't do, will have a direct impact on not only your changing body, but your growing baby inside.

You have to do what's best for you and baby all the way up until your due date. Then, as a new mother, you will focus on your recovery. You should now be focused on attaining optimal pregnancy health.

You may or may not be experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. Your body is changing at a rapid pace whether you are feeling it or not.

What's important is that right now, you acknowledge that things have changed. You must modify your workouts. You must make the healthy lifestyle choices.

Enjoying a healthy pregnancy involves both your physical and mental well-being.

Your growing baby needs for you to be healthy and make the right choices. Your body is amazing in the way it can carry a baby. And you can play your role and have peace of mind in knowing you are doing your best.

You Are Not Alone

I want you to know this right now. You have family and friends that care about you.

Right now you may not feel that support as you have yet to tell everyone.

Keeping it all a secret and trying to hide the fact that you are no longer drinking, or eating certain foods, is not easy. For at least 12 weeks, you are keeping the biggest secret of your life.

At PregActive, we are here to help YOU! While you are looking after your growing baby we are here for you. That's what makes PregActive unique, we support the mother!

Through each week of pregnancy, all the way into your third trimester, we will guide you towards making the healthy choices so you can experience a happier and healthier pregnancy.

The Best Advice is to Exercise in the First Trimester

The outdated historic advice to rest during pregnancy and not exercise is well and truly behind us. From ACOG, to many other governing bodies, exercising during pregnancy is recommended. And for good reason!

I know first hand just how much staying fit and healthy during pregnancy is important. I hear it all the time from my clients how staying fit helped them with all aspects of their pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

But wait - as always, I strongly advise you to seek medical advice before starting any new exercise program. Exercising is not suitable for all women when pregnant.

You Must Trust Your Instructor

Once cleared, your main goal is to ONLY participate in classes with a qualified prenatal fitness instructor. They need to have experience. They need to understand how to modify your workouts for each trimester.

And most importantly, know which exercises you must avoid. By joining PregActive, all of this stress and concern is removed as we do this for you.

Here are some tips to help you get started during your first trimester.

Safe First Trimester Pregnancy Workout Tips

1. Consult Your Doctor

The first thing you should do when you find out you are pregnant is to visit your Doctor. During this visit, speak to your doctor about your intention to continue exercising. Discuss any health conditions that need to be taken into consideration.

Once given the all clear, you are ready to start your first trimester pregnancy workout. What you need to do next is do your due diligence in selecting a class taught by a qualified and experienced trainer.

2. Be Aware Of Symptoms

You may experience some significant body changes during your first trimester. This includes experiencing; nausea and vomiting, dizziness and other symptoms that affect if and how you exercise.

Listen to your body and accept the importance of resting when required.

3. Your Priorities Have Changed

When you are pregnant, you must modify the intensity and duration of your workouts. This also includes avoiding contact and high-impact activities.

If you were cycling, now may be the time to switch to spin classes. You should also avoid activities that increase your heart rate dramatically. Be sure to listen to what your body is telling you.

4. Forget Pregnancy Body Shaming Trolls

Being pregnant is not the time to start worrying about your bikini body. I know, why is this even being mentioned? Well, unfortunately some online fitness sites push these unhealthy and unrealistic views on vulnerable women.

You should not dramatically change your diet and exercise routines. Your main goal now is to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.

5. 1st Trimester Pregnancy Exercise Plan

a. Avoid contact activities and sports.

b. Don't exercise in extreme weather conditions.

c. Do not exercise to exhaustion.

d. Avoid high-impact sports and exercises.

e. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

f. Acknowledge that your body is changing and rest and recovery is also important.

6. Avoid Hot Weather Conditions

It is important that you keep your core temperature stable by avoiding hot weather conditions.

Exercising in a controlled environment is advisable. If you live in a hot climate then my online PregActive pregnancy exercise videos are a great option. No matter where you exercise, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

7. Pay Attention to What You are Eating

It is important to pay attention to what you eat when pregnant for the health of you and baby. When you exercise you also need to fuel your body with the right nutrients. This ensures you have the required energy to workout.

There are some foods to avoid when pregnant to ensure you are keeping baby safe. While listeria is very uncommon, you should still pay attention to what you eat. And where you buy your food from.

8. Understand the Importance of Rest and Recovery

It is OK to rest if you are not feeling up to exercising. You must listen to your body and learn to back-off on pushing yourself if you are feeling unwell.

9. Let Your Instructor Know You Are Pregnant

Now is not the time to try and be a hero. If you continue to participate in a personal training session or a gym class then it is vital you let your trainer know you're pregnant.

A qualified prenatal instructor can modify your program for your specific needs. They will be aware not to push you to exhaustion as previously done.

Functional Workouts are Required

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.

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 1st 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 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. Pick up a child out of the bath.
5. To pick-up shopping bags.
6. While cleaning.

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.