During the second trimester of pregnancy (weeks 14 to 27) your belly will grow and it may be a good time to think about swapping high impact exercises, such as running and jumping, with low impact activities, such as walking or swimming. If you ran regularly before pregnancy, it's okay to continue if you feel comfortable, but talk to your doctor or midwife if you're worried. Yoga, Pilates, and water aerobics classes are all great, but if they're not pre-birth classes, it's important to tell the teacher you're pregnant.
In this article
- Second trimester pregnancy exercises
- The best exercises
Read also: First trimester pregnancy exercises: which ones to do
Second trimester pregnancy exercises
Being active during pregnancy will reduce the likelihood of having problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which means less risk for your baby. Women who exercise with weights (exercise in which the feet and legs bear weight, such as walking, yoga, dancing, and so on) during pregnancy can experience shorter labor with fewer complications.
The good news is that you don't have to give up on most of the activities you enjoyed in the first trimester as long as your pregnancy is healthy and you don't run the risk of falling.
Many activities are safe in moderation, as long as you and your baby are comfortable. Avoid activities where you could suffer a bad fall. You may have safely ridden a bicycle in the first quarter, but why take the risk? If cycling is a key part of your exercise routine, choose an exercise bike from here on out.
The best exercises
Walking is a perfect pregnancy activity. Most hospitals allow mothers to walk in the hours, if not moments, before giving birth. When you use your arms while walking, you can increase your upper body strength and flexibility. Brisk walking is heart-healthy exercise.
Thirty minutes a day, three to five times a week is a healthy walking program. If you're not already an exercise walker, you can train up to that level, starting with 10 minutes a day.
Gentle, strengthening yoga could be your best friend if you are pregnant. It will help you stretch your muscles, reduce pregnancy pains such as those in the lower back, and decrease blood pressure. Learning to breathe with body movements is an essential part of yoga practice and will serve you well during labor and delivery. If you already practice yoga, continue with your routine. Avoid positions you might fall into or ask your partner to help you. If you want to start during the second trimester, try a prenatal yoga class or instructional video. These will focus on yoga poses that are healthy for you and your baby.
Three to five times a week is very good, but if you want to practice every day, go for it. Thirty minutes of yoga is a healthy routine, but you can do more if you feel like it.
Swimming and water aerobics
Exercise in the water is great during pregnancy. The water is relaxing, the movement is low impact, and you can build strength and aerobic capacity at the same time. Focus on swimming exercises that strengthen the core muscles without twisting the abdomen. If you are already training in the pool, keep it up. If you want to get started instead, ask an instructor to help you develop a safe routine.
Three to five times a week, 30 minutes at a time.
If you ran before you got pregnant or ran safely in the first trimester, you can probably stick with your routine. Remember that your body is changing. Specifically, your center of gravity is shifting. This means you should be careful not to fall. If you weren't running before, now is not the time to start.
Follow your previous running routine or aim for 30-minute runs, three to five times a week.
Safe Exercise Tips
Choose low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga.
Start with a low level of exertion and work up to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week.
Article sources: americanpregnancy.org, acog.org, cdc.gov