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Exercises for pregnant women: 1st trimester

Pregnancy is the most delightful period of life for every woman. When else will two hearts beat together in one body and ever-increasing numbers on the scale bring joy? In order not to need many months after childbirth to restore your figure and health, it’s much easier and more efficient to maintain your physical form from the beginning of pregnancy, thus keeping healthy not only yourself, but also strengthening the health of the unborn baby.

Of course, when talking about exercises during pregnancy, we are not talking about power lifting or long tedious workouts. But, if a woman had been actively involved in sports, it is not necessary to quit useful exercises for the duration of her interesting situation – you just have to revise the list of exercises, considering your pregnancy. And vice versa, if the physical activity of the future mother previously consisted only of going to the grocery store and pacing around while waiting for an elevator, it’s time to change your sedentary way of life for the sake of the future baby’s health.

Why exercises are necessary in the 1st trimester of pregnancy

With moderate physical activity throughout pregnancy, the future mom is guaranteed:

  • an easier flow of pregnancy and labor compared with inactive pregnant women;
  • minimization of chronic fatigue and depression thanks to any level physical activity is directly related to the production of happiness hormones;
  • reduction or complete disappearance of toxicity symptoms;
  • reducing the risk of oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) in the baby, because during well-organized physical activities the blood of the pregnant woman is oxygenated;
  • return to your pre-baby figure in the shortest possible time after the baby is born.
Stereotypes and misconceptions about exercises during pregnancyHowever, there is a number of stereotypes and misconceptions in society about exercises during pregnancy.

Myth 1. Any training is absolutely contraindicated to a pregnant woman in the first trimester.

This is not true. In the absence of contraindications, physical education in the 1st trimester are useful because they prepare the body of the pregnant woman for the upcoming serious burdens, train her heart and lungs, and maintain the necessary muscle tone.

[attention type=yellow]Doctors and fitness instructors unequivocally say that the positive effects of exercises during pregnancy are more pronounced when they are started early.[/attention]

Myth 2. In the beginning of pregnancy, when the stomach is not yet visible, you should not limit your physical activity.

The stomach, of course, has not yet rounded out, but the woman is already pregnant. This means she is responsible for the new life growing inside her. Therefore, any exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy should be agreed upon with the physician. In any case it’s likely you will have to “quit” any professional sport activities during pregnancy and completely eliminate injury-prone, lifting, weight-training, and cardio-training exercises.

Myth 3: Yoga and stretching exercises are ideally suitable for pregnant women.

There is a variety of types of yoga, as well as stretching exercises. Among them are special sets for women in the “interesting” condition, that can be performed from the first trimester of pregnancy. But the most common yoga asanas are contraindicated for pregnant women, as well as many stretching exercises: they can lead to the injury of the pregnant woman and the threat of miscarriage. So, you should be careful in the selection of exercise, and guided by the opinion of the instructor or trainer.

Myth 4. The more exercise – the better.

The ideal is a daily performance of a set of exercises that includes breathing exercises, light stretching and physiotherapy exercises. But for women, who did not engage in sports before pregnancy, it’s enough to exercise for a half an hour every other day, and the optimal types of physical activity for them are daily walks and swimming.

Contraindications to exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy

  • any infectious diseases and inflammatory processes in the body;
  • increase in body temperature over 37 degrees Celsius;
  • chronic kidney and heart diseases;
  • strong toxicities, requiring hospitalization;
  • severe anemia (low hemoglobin levels);
  • multiple pregnancy;
  • the threat of termination of pregnancy;
  • history of miscarriage or missed abortion;
  • uterine bleeding;
  • low abdomen pain of any intensity.

What exercises can be performed by pregnant women

It’s best if the physical activity of a pregnant woman in the 1st trimester includes:

What exercises can be performed by pregnant women
  1. Daily walks in the fresh air at a calm pace for at least a half an hour.
  2. Pool swimming several times a week, and water aerobics classes – if possible.
  3. With good well-being and in the absence of contraindications dance class (especially oriental belly dance for pregnant women), and Pilates under the supervision of an instructor, are recommended.
  4. Daily breathing exercises.
  5. Classes with a fitness ball.
  6. A set of stretching exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back, pelvis, legs, and chest.

How to correctly do physical exercises for pregnant women

  • All exercises are performed at a calm pace, without overloading yourself;
  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles alternate with relaxation exercises;
  • No weight-lifting, positions such as “bike” or “candle”;
  • Squats and lunges are done half-way;
  • Stretching exercises are done very carefully, because due to the influx of hormones in a pregnant woman, her ligaments and tendons are injury-prone;
  • Weight-training (for example, exercises with a dumbbell and on a simulator) in the first trimester are excluded in general, unlike in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

A set of exercises for pregnant women in the 1st trimester

  1. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: standing, feet are slightly apart, back is straight, arms are hanging freely. At the count of 1 to 5 to take a deep breath in. At the count 1 to 7 – slowly exhale. Repeat 8-10 times.
  2. Walking in place for 1 minute alternated with walking on your tippy-toes for 30 seconds.
  3. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: standing, feet are slightly apart, arms are straight at the sides. At the same time as inhaling lift up the right arm and left foot, with an exhalation – lower them down. Avoid sudden movements. Repeat 5 times, alternating arms and legs.
  4. Half-way squats with arms straight back – 5 times.
  5. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: standing, feet are slightly apart, hands are lock-clasped behind the back. With an inhalation – bend your body slightly backward, clenching the buttocks. On an exhale – stand up straight, take the starting position. Repeat 6-7 times.
  6. Half-way forward bend with the arms straight out in front of you – 5 repetitions.
  7. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: standing or sitting with your back straight, hands with joined palms in front of the chest. On an inhale, press palms into each other to tighten the muscles of the chest. On an exhale, relax your arms and chest muscles, with palms still joined. Repeat 7-8 times.
  8. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: sitting on the floor, legs are spread wide, hands are on the waist. On an exhale touch the toes of the right foot with the left hand. On an inhale sit up straight, taking the starting position. Same with the right hand and left foot. Repeat 7-8 times, alternating legs and arms.
  9. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: on all fours, head down. On an exhale, bend at the waist, rounding the back like a cat. Stay in this position on a count 1 to 3. On an inhale take the starting position. Repeat 5-7 times.
  10. The position at the beginning of the exercise is: lying on the back, knees are bent, feet rest on the floor. On an exhale – lift the pelvis, with the feet on the floor, stay in this position on a count of 1 to 3. On an exhale, lower the pelvis, taking the starting position. Repeat 5-7 times.
Exercises on a fitness ball during pregnancyYou can do exercises on a fitness ball:

sit on the ball and do a circular rotation of the pelvis in different directions;

sit on the floor and hold the ball between the legs, then slightly squeeze the ball down and release the pressure;

lie with your belly on the ball, resting your feet on the floor, and ride it from the chest to the lower abdomen (while belly is not yet obvious).

Finally, we recommend you to do an easy exercise for stretching and relaxation. Sit on your knees, resting the buttocks on your heels. Stretch your arms forward and try to touch the floor with your forehead. Slightly pull forward and relax. Repeat several times.

Recommendations for pregnant women

Exercises for pregnant women 1st trimester - recommendationsThere is a popular expression about the need for physical activity during pregnancy: it is better to sit than to lie down; better to stand than to sit; better to walk than to stand.

Reasonable and well-organized physical activity during pregnancy in the absence of contraindications has not yet hurt anyone.

You do not want to perform a set of exercises? Swim! You do not want to swim? Do breathing exercises! Still not your cup of tea? Then walk more, or dance. Find a form of physical activity during pregnancy, which will delight you and be beneficial to your body.

  • Do not overheat while exercising – it’s detrimental to the condition of the fetus.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during physical exercise to stimulate your metabolism and enhance the removal of toxins from the body.
  • Exercises are better performed a couple of hours after eating (optimally – after breakfast).
  • Do not overdo it! Remember that a shortness of breath is a symptom of the lack of oxygen to the unborn child.
  • Take into account your health, and at the slightest sign of abdominal pain or discomfort, stop the exercise or switch to another one.
  • 15 minutes a day is enough for strenuous exercise in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Avoid physical activity in those days, that could have been “critical” if you had not become pregnant. According to medical research, the threat of termination of pregnancy greatly increases at such times.
  • Do not neglect breathing and relaxation exercises – these skills must be mastered by every pregnant woman.

Video of prenatal yoga in the 1st trimester

We invite you to watch the video of yoga exercises for pregnant women in the first trimester, which will help you to maintain good health and prepare the body for the subsequent trimesters and labor. It is safe for all pregnant women who have no contraindications.

[attention type=green]In conclusion, I would like to emphasize once again that pregnancy is a special time in the life of a woman. But it should not take place in a horizontal position with sadness in the eyes. Physical education at this time is welcomed and helps to prepare for childbirth. Share your experience, how the level of your physical activity during pregnancy affected the process of labor and recovery after childbirth.[/attention]

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