EXERCISE IN THE SECOND TRIMESTER
With Lenny Rose Founder, Physiotherapist and 2x mamma Rosie!
Exercise in pregnancy can be pretty confusing, so we are here to set you straight based on the current recommendations and research! Hopefully you read our prior post on Exercise in the First Trimester, if not, jump on over now to get a bit more context before continuing here.
Hopefully by the second trimester, if you were suffering with morning sickness, it has started to abate, and you feel like getting more out and about. Remember exercise in pregnancy is great not only for preparing your body, but for creating space and a routine that you will more easily be able to maintain when your baby arrives, and also can help stave off Post Natal Depression.
If you were previously active, as outlined in the prior post, you can continue to exercise at a moderate level 30-60 mins a day; and if you were previously inactive, its starting a gentle routine to eventually get you up to the recommended 30-60mins, even if its just walking, prenatal pilates/yoga or light strength work with a pregnancy fitness specialist.
The things that start to change in second trimester are
a larger amount of relaxin circulating around your body, which softens the ligaments in preparation for birthing your baby- this can mean sacroiliac, lower back and pelvic pain can start to show themselves
a larger/ protruding belly which can start to get in the way, and make tummy down laying uncomfortable, as well as laying on your back uncomfortable (more on that below)
starting to need to go to the toilet more frequently
increased breathlessness towards the end of the second trimester as the baby grows but hasn’t yet dropped lower into the pelvis.
Most of the things you were doing in the first trimester continue to be OK in the second, though laying on your tummy will start to become uncomfortable and to be avoided, laying on your back (or right side) can make you feel breathless/ dizzy as the weight of the baby starts to compress the inferior vena cava, and so blocks some of the blood flow return to your heart. This is more dangerous for you than your bub, and you will know if you are fine laying on your back or right side by how you feel. Elevating the torso so you are more upright can help, as can laying on your side instead.
As mentioned in the prior post, twisting is best avoided, and when you fold forward in yoga or Pilates you will need a wider stance to accommodate your belly.
Further modifications to exercise may need to be made if you are having any lower back or sacroiliac joint discomfort.
I tend to reduce heavy lifting and also keep leg work more bilateral/ leg stance close together to avoid uneven strain through the SIJ.
Still avoiding crunches or prone work, as discussed on the aforementioned blog on trimester 1; planks and push-ups can be modified to against a wall or bench to reduce the load on your abdominal wall.
Hopefully this gives you a good guide to work with – but as always, working in consultation with your health care provider is the best way to go!
Always happy to answer questions or email me @ email@example.com