First Trimester Cardio Workout

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising.


My first post will cover first trimester cardio. As always feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or would like a personalised programme.

Pregnancy fitness: 1st trimester cardio

Sometimes a good cardio workout can shake of the first trimester fatigue and sickness. Here’s how to exercise safely in those first vital three months.Since finding out they’re expecting, lots of women want to introduce a more active lifestyle to prevent too much weight gain. Gone are the days of eating for two – the reality is, whatever excess weight you put on, you will have to get off again afterwards!

The problem is some women are scared to exercise when they find out they are pregnant, but as long as you have been approved by your doctor, there’s mot much cause for concern. Studies have found that regular exercise can ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts, boost your mood and energy levels, help you sleep better, prevent excess weight gain and increase stamina and muscle strength. It may also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, as well as lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression.

The thing to remember when embarking on any pregnancy exercise plan is that this ISN’T the time to lose weight, get faster or work towards new fitness milestones. This is the time to listen to your body’s cues and put your baby first.

If you are just starting to exercise, the key is to start the habit slowly – just 15 minutes per session two or three times a week. You can build up to more frequent, longer sessions, as you are able. You should warm up, exercise, and slowly cool the body down before you complete your session. Low-impact aerobic activity like walking, swimming and indoor cycling are ideal, as this is enough to improve the body’s use of oxygen, improve the supply of oxygen to the fetus, improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, as well as boost the metabolism and improve your wellbeing and confidence.

Walking is good exercise that poses few risks. Make sure you get properly fitted shoes that provide good support and a good sports bra to cater for your growing and often sore breasts. Be conscious of the weather too, and avoid overheating by not walking long distances outside in hot or humid weather. Walking for thirty minutes every day has been shown to be enough to improve your pregnancy and is a safe and helpful exercise that can be continued throughout your second and third trimester too.



Many women swear by swimming and water running during throughout the entire 40 weeks of their pregnancy. This is because it provides a cardiovascular workout that stretches and tones muscles in a nearly gravity-free environment, which also minimises joint strain and balance problems. During your first trimester, swimming or water running with a floatation belt at least 20 minutes three times a week will keep you in good shape. Just make sure you take recovery breaks when you need to and monitor your exertion levels. You should be able to hold a comfortable conversation without feeling out of breath. If you can’t then slow down and drop the intensity.


Stationary cycling and spinning
When pregnant, your balance will change very suddenly, which isn’t great if you are cycling on the road. You want to be as safe as possible during these first twelve weeks, and wobbling on an outdoor bike isn’t the way to do this. Stationary and spinning bikes offer less risk of a fall than standard bicycles and can provide excellent aerobic exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy. Cycling also reduces joint stains, and it is often an easy exercise to begin for women who are new to exercise.

Take care if doing a spinning class though. They can be much more intense than regular cycling, but safe enough as long as you maintain your balance and monitor your heart rate and body heat. As with any exercise, it is essential to stop if you begin to feel faint or dizzy and always inform your instructor before you start the class.


This home-exercise bike from Technogym is a great starting point if you want to embark on a fitness journey without the cost of a gym membership. It has an adjustable seat and pedals and is perfect for keeping in the spare room and using in front of the TV while keeping your legs and bottom strong and toned.

6 thoughts on “First Trimester Cardio Workout

  1. Hi Lucy, What do you think of high intensity exercise while pregnant? i.e sprinting? I used to be very active before I got pregnant (I’m 16 weeks pregnant with my first baby) but like you say, I was scared to continue with this and plus, it brought on really horrible sickness. So i just stick to swimming now but I miss my high intensity workouts. 😦 Jade

    • Hi Jade, I feel your pain but do you know what – enjoy the rest. It’s not for long and you will really appreciate it when you start running/sprinting again.
      It really isn’t worth pushing your body during pregnancy, it’s not actually going to benefit you either. No matter what happens you will put on weight and lose a little bit of fitness.You will feel tired too somedays.
      I hope that helps. Please don’t worry yourself, I’m back doing high intensity exercise again and haven’t lost all my fitness and if anything feel better for the rest.
      You can do interval training in the pool perhaps? One length hard, another to recover….
      Just listen to your body and your baby, the body is amazing so let it do its thing 🙂
      Hope this helps xxx

      • Thanks for your feedback Lucy – it’s really helpful and reassuring. I’m trying my best to enjoy the rest and not let the weight gain and loss of muscle tone get to me, but it’s so hard sometimes! Like you, I’m an active person so I’m struggling to ‘tone it down’

        The swimming has helped a lot, and I find it to be much more beneficial than low impact exercises like yoga or pilates – I just don’t feel I get the same ‘buzz’, if you know what I mean.

        I know it is only a short period of time and it will be worth it when I have my little one 🙂

        I think your blog is extremely informative in this area and I shall be referring to it when I need to buy things – there’s so much to know! xxx

      • I’m glad it’s helping hun. I regret not not panicking as much. The lack of muscle tone is down to your hormones and the weight gain is just simply going to happen and as long as you aren’t ballooning (although you will feel like you are) I wouldn’t worry at all.
        I found that TRX workouts were great for me as it’s body weight only but still gave me a muscle burn and got my heart rate up. Wearing a heart rate monitor also helped as I know my limits when wearing that.
        I honestly didn’t run for a year, which was hard as I’ve always been a runner. Instead I focused my energy on workouts that would help me come back stronger after the pregnancy so lots of posture stuff and light leg and core work. You definitely don’t get the buzz but you still feel like you are doing something! I didn’t really get on with Pilates and did yoga just once a week coz I felt I had to. It was a prenatal one so was handy to meet other mums to be xx

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