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The 6 Best Workouts for the First Trimester + Tips and Tricks

You’re newly pregnant and excited about the months ahead! You want to stay healthy and do everything you can to ensure your baby arrives safely and as healthy as possible. One of the things you definitely need to consider how to stay active. Here are 6 of the BEST Workouts for the First Trimester, that will help you have a healthy pregnancy!

Opinions and research on working out during your pregnancy has greatly changed over the years. Just a few short decades ago, it was perceived as dangerous to do anything but rest and relax, but that has all changed for the better! 

Currently, it is recommended that pregnant women get about 20-30 minutes of exercise a dayWhat that workout looks like is greatly dependent on your pre-pregnancy workout regimen, especially early on in your pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, however, you’ll definitely need to taper down your intensity!

But, in this article, we’re going to be looking at the benefits of exercise, tips for working out as well as best workouts for the first trimester! So let’s get started…

Best Workouts for the First Trimester

The best workouts for the first trimester are intense enough to give you a little sweat, but not so intense that you can’t talk. As a general rule, doctors recommend that you should be able to workout at a conversational pace. This means that you should be able to have a conversation with someone during your workout without losing your breath.

Here are some of the best that will help you to reap all of the exercising benefits while staying safe…

1. Yoga

Whether you attend your local prenatal yoga class, take one virtually, or use a Youtube vide, yoga is an amazing workout for any stage of pregnancy! It’s low intensity and works on stretching and flexibility. This is really important to prepare your body for labor and delivery! 

I loved to do Youtube Yoga Classes. They are free and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. Here is my favorite First Trimester Yoga Workout:

2. Low-Intensity Cardio

Depending on what you were used to before you became pregnant, there are many types of low-intensity cardio that would be perfect for you! Don’t forget, as long as you can complete your workout at a conversational pace, you are in great shape! 

Low intensity cardio is perfect for the first trimester because it gets your heart pumping while building muscle and stamina. Not to mention, it releases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals to help keep your mood up! 

I tried a bit of Low-Intensity cardio, but thanks to nausea I had a hard time doing it for very long. Here was one of my favorite, low-intensity cardio workouts:

3. Walking/Jogging

Whether you walked or jogged before your first trimester, both are the ideal example of low-intensity cardio. No sprinting here! Just taking it slow and keeping up your fitness.

Walking and jogging is also great to do with friends! Whether you have other pregnant friends or a supportive partner, this type of workout is perfect for catching up, getting outside, and enjoying quality time with the people you love most! 

When I didn’t have a walking buddy, I would listen to pregnancy meditations and affirmations. Sometimes I listened to podcasts about motherhood, I figured why not get some exercise while also preparing for the exciting times ahead?!

Check out my FAVORITE Meditation from Bridget Tyler:

4. Cycling

Cycling is another great, low-intensity workout! As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll want to switch your outdoor bike for an indoor one, but this is an amazing exercise for someone who wants something a little less intense on their joints and knees! 

5. Swimming

Speaking of exercises that are great for joints and knees, swimming is considered one of the best workouts for any stage of pregnancy! Because the water allows you to float, you don’t have to worry about putting extra pressure on your body or the baby’s! 

Swimming will keep you toned and in shape and is definitely a workout to look into whether it’s your first or third trimester! 

6. Kegels

Now, this is a very specific type of exercise, but we just couldn’t leave it off! Essentially, kegels are an exercise that strengthens your pelvic floor. It helps you to not only prepare for childbirth, but also to have a quicker recovery! 

The amazing thing about kegels is that you can literally do them anywhere and they will have a monumental impact on your birthing experience! 

Here is one of my favorite kegel exercise videos for pregnancy:


Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

Decrease Chance of a High Risk Pregnancy

One of the biggest and most important reasons to workout throughout your pregnancy is that it can decrease the chance of having a high risk pregnancy through preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. On top of this, exercising throughout your pregnancy is also linked to preventing or lowering your chances of giving birth through cesarean section.

While these pregnancy complications may not be completely avoidable, incorporating consistent workouts from the start of your pregnancy can reduce your risk of experiencing them! 

Ease Constipation

If this isn’t your first pregnancy, then you know the struggle is real when it comes to constipation! Especially during that first trimester when your body is adjusting and working so hard on your baby’s development, constipation is no fun.

Exercise combined with good hydration are an easy and natural way to alleviate some of your constipation discomfort! 

Healthy Weight Gain

By no means are we saying that you should exercise to prevent gaining weight! In fact, the CDC states pregnant women should gain at least 25-35 pounds throughout their pregnancy! Gaining weight is completely healthy and every woman experiences weight gain differently.

With that being said, exercise can help you gain the healthy amount of weight while keeping your muscle tone and fitness, and prepare your body for gaining more weight later on in your final trimester! 

Prepare for Childbirth

Similar to working out and exercising helps you prepare and keep your body strong for added weight as your pregnancy progresses, it also helps prepare you for childbirth. In a sense, childbirth will be one of the biggest and mentally draining workouts you may ever experience. Essentially, giving birth a marathon filled with pain, discomfort, and hard work and why not stay healthy and fit so that you’re ready when the time comes! 

Tips for Working Out During Pregnancy

Now that we know why working out during pregnancy is important for both you and the baby’s health, let’s explore some of the most important tips to consider! 

Talk with your doctor

As with anything when it comes to pregnancy, be sure to communicate with your doctor before starting your workout routine! Even if your body is used to it, getting the clear (and encouragement) from your doctor can make a big difference! Knowing that your doctor is on the same page not only brings peace of mind, but it also brings reassurance that you are doing what is best for you and your precious little one! 

Do what you know

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you were doing it pre-pregnancy, you should be able to do it throughout at least your first trimester! Meaning, if you were running 10 miles per week before you became pregnant, you should, with your doctor’s permission, be able to continue the same routine.

On the other hand, if you were only working out by taking daily walks, it is not the time to start incorporating high intensity workouts or anything like that! Stay the course on what you know and what your body is used to and you should be golden! 

Stay Hydrated

Whenever you workout, it’s important to stay hydrated! Whenever you workout when you’re pregnant, it’s absolutely crucial! The last thing you want to do when working out is become overheated or dehydrated! 

Ideally, you should be drinking at least 8-12 glasses of water a day. When you are exercising, always make sure that you take time and have a water bottle handy! Dehydration can lead to some complications including preterm labor and neural tube defects. 

Becoming overheated means that your body temperature elevates to more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 10 minutes. Unfortunately, this can lead to some complications. Ways to prevent becoming overheated include staying hydrated and avoiding working out in very warm temperatures! 

As long as you stay hydrated and work out inside or before the heat of the day, your workouts will bring so many benefits to you and your baby! 

Listen to your body

While you are newly pregnant, your body is making all sorts of changes in the first trimester. Though it is typically considered safe to continue the workouts you are used to, you may not exactly feel like it, and that is completely normal!

Yes, there are so many wonderful benefits to working out throughout your pregnancy, and of course you want to reap all of those benefits! But, for some women, the first trimester may not be the ideal time to workout. Depending on your levels of morning sickness, you may not be feeling like normal. 

Because of the nature of your first trimester, always make sure that you are listening to your body! If you’re not feeling like working out, don’t push yourself too hard! If you are experiencing very uncomfortable symptoms, maybe you could just make a goal to go on a walk each day? Don’t over stress about working out in the first trimester. Listen to your body and take care of yourself in the best way that you know! 

In Conclusion…

Exercising is so good for you! It improves your mood, strengthens your body and your mind, and prepares you for one of the biggest mental and physical challenges you will ever face…childbirth! 

While your first trimester may bring its own challenges, try and establish a workout routine that works best for you with the exercises listed above!

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