You've made it to the second trimester. Thank the Lord! No, literally -- thank you, Lord. I LOVED this mid-point in my pregnancy where your energy is naturally higher and you are settling in with your precious baby bump. As your baby continues to grow there will be a few things you will need to consider while exercising.
- Avoid exercises that involve lying flat on your back if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous. You can use pillows or foam pads to create an inclined surface.
- Listen to your body. Stay in tune with your exertion level. On a scale of 1-10 you should stay between a 5-8 level of exertion (1 being an activity such as laundry to 10 being an all out sprint).
- Stay hydrated. Aim to drink 8 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise PLUS the recommended 64 ounces for the rest of the day.
- Probably an obvious one, but avoid doing exercises on your stomach. Trust me, it won't be comfortable anyway.
- Exercise in a cool, ventilated environment --- you don't want to overheat (Bikram yoga will have to wait),
- Support your body with the appropriate activewear -- supportive sports bra & tennis shoes are a must. Be aware, your feet can swell or grow during pregnancy.
- Cramping can be common in the second trimester so be sure you are drinking enough water and consuming enough electrolytes found in bananas or sports drinks.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that jar the body like jumping jacks.
- Due to the release of the hormone relaxin, which softens cartilage in the pubic bone to allow the baby to descend during delivery, you can be more susceptible to overstretching joints and ligaments. So although you may feel like you can stretch way further, try to only go as far as you're use to.
- Now is the time to strengthen your core which is defined as all the parts of your body except for your limbs and head. Specifically, you will want to strengthen your deep ab muscles and pelvic floor in attempt to avoid the condition known as diastasis recti. This is a fairly common condition in which the right and left halves of rectus abdominis muscle spread apart (more than 2 finger widths separation). If this does occur during your pregnancy you will need to make some modifications.
If you didn't feel well enough to workout in your first trimester you are by no means too late. Now is the time to get moving. In addition to the weight bearing exercises I've prepared, you can also be jogging, bike riding, taking brisk walks and swimming.
Another important thing to do, be sure to rest. Your body is creating a human being so give it a break if it's asking for it. Be mentally tough on the days your body is feeling good and humble on the days you are not.