Pregnancy Fitness: 1st Trimester Strength Training

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. Here’s my second blog – ‘How to Strength Train Safely during your First Trimester’.
As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries….

Strength training in the first trimester will help you to manage exertion levels later on in your pregnancy, when things feel harder due to increased weight yet decreased energy levels.

Resistance and stretching helps to prevent injury when the pressure on your joints increases and the hormone relaxin kicks in, which we’ll explain more about in our 2nd trimester posts (levels of relaxin tends to surge in the second trimester – around the 12 week mark.) It also takes a lot of muscle and stamina to deliver a baby; so the stronger you are now, the better.

I have designed this mini workout to help strengthen all the key muscles that you will need for a strong and healthy pregnancy, while keeping the intensity down. You can do most of these moves at home or at a gym with minimal equipment – just make sure you’re never out of breath or holding your breath, as this can elevate your blood pressure and starve your body of oxygen, which isn’t safe.

Keep the reps slow too, to elongate your muscles and build strength, rather than quick jerky movements that will cause injury, and always go at your own pace and stay hydrated.

The Workout…

Prisoner Squats
Reps 12
Sets 3
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingers on the back of your head, pulling your elbows and shoulders back and sticking your chest out.
Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, keeping your torso upright and your core tight. Pause, and then slowly push through your heels back to the starting position.

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Upright Row
Reps 12
Sets 3
Grab a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans, and let them hang down at arm’s length in front of your waist.
Leading with your elbows, pull the weights up to your chin, making sure your elbows are higher than your wrists and shoulders.
Pause, and then slowly return the weights to the starting position

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Step up with balance
Reps 10 each leg
Sets 2
Place a step in front of you and step up with your left foot, bringing your right leg forward and up and bending your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Balance for a few seconds then lower your right leg back to start, then the left. Do all 10 reps on your left leg, before repeating on your right.

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Back Rows
Reps 12
Sets 3
Hold a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
Gently bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso.
Pause, then return to the starting position.

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Work your core – Cat and Cow
Reps 12
Sets 2
Get down on hands and knees in a tabletop position.
Look up, and stretch the front of your body as you inhale (Cow), then slowly round your back and look down as you exhale, being careful not to engage your abs (Cat).

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Stretch it out – Child’s Pose
Hold for 10-15 seconds
Sit on the floor with knees wide apart and resting on the floor. Bend forward, walk your hands forward then rest your forehead and hands on the floor as you breathe calmly and deeply.

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Remember!

As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Make sure you are also fully hydrated and that your exercise in cool and comfortable conditions.

You’re still in your first trimester so the baby shopping hasn’t yet begun in earnest but you can still start thinking about the bigger ticket items like your pushchair, car seat and nursery. Exciting isn’t it?!

Thank you to Nike for the kit and Nuffield Health, Bromley for shoot location.

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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.

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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
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.

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Swimming

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.

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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.

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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.