The fitter you stay during pregnancy, the easier it will be to get back in shape after you’ve had your baby.
Check with your GP before starting exercising if you have high blood pressure, bleeding or cervical weakness, or if you’re expecting twins or triplets.
First Trimester : What’s happening to my body?
‘During the first trimester, your heart rate, metabolic rate and blood volume are all increasing,’ says Prima Baby’s pre- and antenatal fitness expert Melinda Nicci. ‘If you already follow a regular exercise routine, carry on but sensibly. And if you’re new to exercise, try walking.
Exercise can help relieve many common pregnancy niggles, including backache and constipation. It also boosts your mood, as each time you exercise, you release endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones – important during those first few weeks, when you can experience mood swings. Plus, the fitter you are, the easier you’ll find your pregnancy – you’ll have more energy, feel less tired, sleep better and put on less weight.’
What you can do:
During the first 12 weeks, many women feel sick, or super-tired. But if you feel up to it, get out for a walk. ‘Aim for 30 to 40 minutes at least three times a week – remember to take a bottle of water and some snacks with you to ensure you stay hydrated and keep blood sugar levels stable,’ says Melinda. ‘But if you can’t manage 30-40 mins, just do what you can. Even 10 minutes out in the fresh air is beneficial both physically and psychologically.’
If you feel up to it, walk a bit faster so you’re working up a sweat. ‘Walk at a pace just before you need to break into a run and make sure you pump those arms for extra oomph!’ says Melinda.
If you ran before you were pregnant you can still continue your routine as long as it is at a gentle pace and you have checked with your GP first. Running during pregnancy is not safe if you have complications such as if you’re at risk for premature labor, have had bleeding, or have preeclampsia, as then activities like jogging can worsen your condition.
As early as two weeks into your pregnancy, your body starts producing the hormone relaxin, which softens ligaments so they can stretch as they carry the growing life inside you. Stretch only as far as you are comfortable to avoid injury.
Weight-watch: During the first trimester, expect to gain 2-4lb
Be sure to read our exercise safety tips.