You have now entered the ‘golden trimester’, as many call it, which also marks an end to the miscarriage worries of trimester 1, as well as the persistent morning sickness that plagues many women in their first 3 months. Therefore, despite the extra baby-weight, many of you might now experience better moods and increased energy levels. However, for those who feel the exact opposite, i.e. lethargic and weary, know that exercise will provide you with that much needed energy boost.
What Not To Do:
Some precautions recommended by the gynecologists you may need to take to accommodate your growing baby bump, and other bodily changes that come with it:
- Avoid exercises that require lying flat on your back or stomach. The former forces the heavy uterus to apply pressure on your vena cava (a major blood vessel)-which might result in your passing out due to reduced blood supply for you and your baby-whereas the latter will expose your baby to direct, undue pressure.
- Try to maintain a straight posture to minimise low back pain-a direct consequence of the lower back area having to support an increasingly heavy uterus.
- Although the flexibility of your joints will increase in the coming months in order to aid the expansion of your hips during delivery, DO NOT take this as a sign to push your limits and overstretch before or during exercise. Also, reduce the intensity of inner thigh exercises for these very reasons.
What To Do:
You can continue with most of the exercise routines of the 1st trimester at the same frequency, i.e. 30 minutes, with minor adaptations and reducing exercise days to 3-5 times a week.
1- Light Jogging:
Since your center of gravity will start shifting as the uterus grows larger, replace running with slow jogging, particularly on flat surfaces with available seating options for short breathers during exercise. However, if you regularly experience joint or back pain, discontinue the exercise.
As long as you avoid certain poses mentioned in the previous article, as well as positions that carry a risk of falling or dizziness, you should continue with this exercise, as the benefits of 2nd trimester yoga include reduction of lower back and neck pains, along with helping you with muscle stretching and breathing in sync with your body’s movements-a vital skill for childbirth. Remember to breathe evenly and slowly and choose postures that involve sitting or lying on your side.
If you chose to swim in the 1st trimester, you can still continue with the exercise provided that you swim slowly with simple strokes to ensure even breathing, while still retaining the stamina built during the previous trimester.
4- Weight Training:
Switch to light weights and continue with your previous exercise regime to help manage lower back pain by maintaining upper body strength. As always, avoid flat-lying and belly-pressure exercises.
Some Simple Exercises:
1- Lying Down:
Lie down on your left side over a comfortable mat and, keeping your feet together, bend your knees and hips at 45 degrees. Making sure that your pelvis doesn’t move, raise your right knee as high as possible. Bring it down after a few seconds, flip sides and repeat with the other leg.
This will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and minimise the damage giving birth did to them. While sitting, tightly squeeze your pelvic floor muscles-like you would to stop yourself from peeing when you urgently need to use the washroom. Hold for 8-10 seconds, release and repeat. You can practice this exercise multiple times a day.
3- Sitting Exercise:
While seated on a chair, lift up one leg and move it in a cycling motion for 20 times or less, depending on your comfort level. Lower your leg down slowly and repeat with the other leg. Like Kegels, this exercise can be performed many times a day but do make sure you do not over-exert yourself.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and firmly anchored to the floor. Lower your bottom towards the floor while exhaling-with your arms stretched out in front of you and abdominal muscles clenched. Inhale as you slowly lift yourself back up and repeat a few times. It should be noted that your joints are more flexible during pregnancy so it is important not to overexert yourself by stretching too far. Make sure you do not go beyond your regular range of motion.
Allowing yourself a 5-minute cool down time after any exercise routine is highly recommended. You can also learn how to exercise in your 3rd trimester. If needed, you can also book an appointment with a top Gynecologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your gestational needs.