Pregnancy & Exercise guide: Trimester two

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his trimester is definitely the best of all three… Sickness disappears as does the tiredness. You aren’t too heavy and generally you don’t feel pregnant, plus you get your two main scans at 12 and 20 weeks!

Sleeping can become an issue as you cannot sleep on your back or on your front, so sleeping on your side becomes compulsory which can cause extreme posture changes and hip pain.


The Science

In these 3 months, blood increases by 30% and fills the increased vascular space which is why most women feel their best at this stage. Centre of gravity begins to move forward due to the frontal weight gain leading to increased clumsiness and loss of balance.

Generally your heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume and cardiac output are reduced and breathing is deeper due to reduction in lung space. Your insulin resistance can increase which can lead to diabetes; having polycystic ovaries meant I was at risk and had to have a gestational diabetes test which fortunately came back negative. This can lead to large baby weight and size and induced labour along with extreme tiredness.


– Tiredness can still be present especially if you have an active job and lifestyle so you may need to plan time for afternoon naps or go to bed earlier.
– Light headiness is also common due to more blood and lower pressure and babies growing needs.
– Backache can still persist due to changes in posture. Try to have a massage regularly by a qualified practitioner who should massage you either side lying or straddled on a chair and will avoid the lower spine.

– SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) can be very common (1/5) especially in active people where the pelvic joints start to separate. You may notice it when walking upstairs, standing on one leg or turning over in bed and it feels bruised either above or below the pubic bone. Severe cases require bed rest and crutches.

Exercise adaptations

In this phase, you are still advised to not sweat or get out of breathe. You may be starting to show and some exercises such as rowing and leg press may be awkward.

Avoid the rowing machine and any exercise laying in the supine position (flat on your back). Chest press or pectoral fly’s can still be performed with an incline bench or standing with use of cable machine. Abdominal strength exercises should be avoided and more of a concentration placed on stability core work such as plank exercises and oblique side raises.

Exercises such as lunges should be avoided due to the hormone “relaxin” effecting the joints and ligaments which could lead to injury. Some cardio exercises should be avoided such as the stair climber due to your instability. Running should be undertaken precariously (I fell over at 19 weeks very badly slicing all my arms and legs up which led to my decision to stop running completely and swimming becoming my best friend). Pelvic floor exercises are essential at this stage to ensure you do not have incontinence issues after birth.

If you do suffer with SPD try to avoid any one legged movements or immobile cardio such as the cross trainer, walking for long periods and focus on stable movements such as swimming front crawl, squats and the static bike.

Diet Advice

– You can get a feeling of “fullness” when you eat due to stomach space becoming smaller, so try to eat small meals every 1.5-2 hours.
– Try to eat high amounts of fibrous green vegetables to avoid constipation.
– Only need to consume 100 Calories more than your usual 1500 calorie allowance. Not eating for two which will lead to weight gain and stretch marks through rapid weight gain.
Top Tips
– Carry snacks such as oatcakes, fruit, chicken and nuts in your handbag.
– Avoid laying on your back for long periods of time particularly in exercise.
– Invest in a “genie” pillow to help during sleepless nights.
– Plan to have a 30 minute power nap in the afternoon especially if you have a late night planned.
– Don’t stand for longer than 2 hours at a time.
– Invest in a good pair of maternity jeans/ skirt you have 4-5 months of use it’s worth it!





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