Here are five simple but necessary exercises for your first trimester of pregnancy:
1. Do Arms- lots and lots of arms!
Do arms because these exercises won’t steal too much of your already depleted energy. AND you’ll be doing lots of carrying very soon- lots & LOTS of carrying! Go as heavy as you feel comfortable, and know that your baby seated in the infant car seat will be at least 10-15lbs when you come home from the hospital. Try doing heavier weight at least with your biceps curls because that’s the most common movement you’ll be doing as a new mom. Take a long break (45s to a minute) in between sets if your heart races or you get nauseous- that guideline goes for all exercises you will try during your pregnancy, now & later on.
2. Do Bilateral Bridge variations:
Start stabilizing a frequently unstable & painful area in late pregnancy and post-partum. Stay with the bilateral bridge and don’t push to full lockout to avoid any chance of SI issues. You’ll be advised against lying on your back in just a couple of months, so get this exercise in while you still can.
3. Do Leg or arm lifts on in Sidelying or on All Fours:
These are positions that surprisingly yield minimal nausea and are safe throughout your whole pregnancy. Get creative.
4. Try Pelvic tilts on your back, targeting the Transverse Abdominis:
Flatten your back & press your ribs down to create a posterior pelvic tilt of your pelvis, then “pull in” to activate the transverse abdominis. Learn how to use your abs with coordination before they are stretched & become more difficult to activate later on in pregnancy.
5. Try a pelvic tilt with the “pull-in” motion when on All Fours (or even in sitting)
First, tuck your pelvis under into a pelvic tilt & perform a transverse contraction. Then try to keep the “pull-in” and see if you can move towards a straight back.
You’ll be needing all parts of your abdominals for safer pushing during labor and for rehabbing your core after childbirth, so it’s good to stay active and aware of them in all positions as soon as possible and when it’s still easy to try.
~How much is too much?~
Aim for a half hour of work to start and see how tired it makes you. If you hit the right amount of time, your workout can give you more energy. If you do too much, you might need 2 naps instead of one. So take it easy the first few sessions, and build up time or intensity when you start to feel more confident in how exercise plays a part in your pregnancy.