If you love to be physically fit or enjoy an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise, your first trimester of pregnancy doesn’t mean you need to stop. In this blog, I’ll highlight 5 adjustments you can make to your exercise routine to help you continue exercising during your first trimester of pregnancy.
1) Add in additional rest or decrease your intensity and/or duration of the exercise.
• Changes to hormones, sleep, and pregnancy symptoms may impact mood, energy, thoughts, and feelings.
• The first trimester can be very challenging for many women. Nausea and exhaustion often show up out of nowhere and make training difficult if not impossible for some.
• The first trimester is less about modifying individual exercises for core/pelvic floor health but rather giving yourself permission to modify the exercise to honor your changing energy levels.
2) Avoid holding your breath while performing exercises. Instead, learn how to breathe throughout each exercise repetition:
Option 1: Inhale during the eccentric portion of the movement and exhale during the concentric portion.
• Example 1: while lowering yourself in a squat (eccentric) inhale while standing up from the bottom of a squat (concentric) exhale as you draw the PFM up and in.
• Example 2: while lowering your chest to the ground in a push up (eccentric) inhale, while pushing your chest off the ground (concentric) exhale/contract PFM
Option 2: Inhale in-between reps and exhale during the movement.
Example: For a squat, you would inhale at the start of each rep and exhale/contract the PFM while lowering and rising from
3) Eliminate the use of weight belts. The focus throughout the remainder of your pregnancy during exercise is controlling intra-abdominal pressure. Weight belts and holding your breath increase intra-abdominal pressure, putting excessive force on your core and pelvic floor muscles.
4) Add in thoracic mobility and hip stability exercises.
5) Focus on your posture. Neutral alignment throughout the spine is critical for proper diaphragmatic breathing and pelvic floor muscle contraction. Having good posture and a neutral alignment will ensure success with your core and pelvic floor muscle function during exercise.
For a hassle-free first-trimester physical therapy consultation, or if you are suffering from chronic neck pain, muscle pain, or mobility issues, contact Jackie at Crossover Physical Therapy today at 763-595-1300 or via email.