You’ve made it!! You’re past that groggy, nauseated and fatigue plagued first trimester. Around about 12 weeks these ugly symptoms begin to dissipate and leave you feeling more full of energy and ready to get moving once again.
This trimester is the most fun trimester to train within. Because of that energy and because, as yet, there aren’t so many postural adaptations. I’ll explain the how’s, why’s and what’s of training during the second trimester, from weeks 12-28, below.
** Important note: Before beginning any exercise whilst pregnant consult with your Dr and/or midwife. You must stop exercising and seek medical attention if any of the following occur; bleeding, painful contractions/cramps, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headache, chest pain, calf pain/swelling.
Benefits of Beginning Exercise During your Second Trimester
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) thee are multiple reasons to exercise regularly during pregnancy:
- Reduces back pain
- Eases constipation
- May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and caesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Improves recovery in the post natal period
Whilst there are exercises to avoid, such as contact sports or scuba diving, it is perfectly safe to begin an exercise program during pregnancy. Even if you’ve never exercised regularly prior to your pregnancy, it’s a good time to begin a routine that will begin to embed daily activity.
It’ll be much harder to begin exercising after the baby is born and taking up much of your time, energy and head space. Talk to your midwife/Dr before beginning and ensure your gain advice from a qualified personal trainer specialising in pre and post natal training.
Training Considerations for Second Trimester
Your body is now begging to change; the uterus and breasts begin to expand and bump pops out. Through this and the final trimester the centre of gravity of your body changes causes postural adaptations. To encourage your best possible posture there are training adaptations to include in your programming.
The Upper and lower crossed syndromes are those to be aware of whilst training, in order to avoid and prevent. The prevention being paramount to pain reduction during and after pregnancy and post natal healing.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper crossed syndrome is as shown, where the posture at the shoulders adapts. The shoulders hinge forwards to protect the front of the body (think sitting, driving, feeding, lifting bump and breast). This can lead to over compensation of elevating the ribs cage and has the potential to hinder diastasis healing post natally.
Lower Crossed Syndrome
The lower crossed syndrome as shown, shows the body adapting at the pelvis. The pelvis tilts forward in order to accommodate the growing bump and will be present in 100% of pregnancies. Daily life also contributes to this posture in scenarios such as extended sitting, hunching over computers and wearing high heels. An anteriorly tilted pelvis alters optimal breathing and pelvic floor function causing a reduction in circulation, healing and causing lower back pain. Normalising the length and tension of illiopsoas and lower back muscles is also essential in baby position pre birth. When these muscles are in balance they provide adequate space for the uterus and therefore baby to move into the correct head down position.
A Look at Second Trimester Programming
As discussed in a previous blog here on Trainerize.me the exercise selection during the first, second and third trimester is designed to be functional and fit into minimal time. This keeps you ‘life’ ready capable of lifting bags, toddlers and anything else life throws at you.
During the second trimester, with higher energy and appropriate education on what works specifically for your body, commence a strength training program. This program will include, but not be limited to;
- Gaining length within the pectoral muscles and psoas muscles
- Gaining strength in the glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and back muscles
- Educating your ‘deep core cylinder’ to breathe on exertion
- Testing and building mental strength for contraction-length amounts of time using isometric ‘holding’ movements
- Focussing on cardiovascular fitness and improvements to prepare for labour
You can see a snipppet from inside my Bumps & Fitness pre natal program here. Or contact me via messaging for more information.
During pregnancy, exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare for labour. Doing so, with high motivation during your second trimester, will help exponentially – even if you haven’t exercised regularly before.
The NCHI state that it is safe moderation and high intensity exercise in normal pregnancies for the foetus and mother. It has multiple benefits such as managing weight gain for mother and baby, reduction in c-section rates and management of gestational diabetes.
The second trimester is a brilliant time to start exercising during pregnancy is the first trimester symptoms clear and prior to third trimester fatigue. Do so with your drs permission and always seek advice and support from a qualified pre and post natal exercise specialist.
Artal, R. (2003). Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(1), 6–12. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.37.1.6
Burrell Education. Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner – Level 2. Accessed December 2022.
Exercise During Pregnancy. ACOG. (2019). https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy.
Sally K Hinman, Kirsty B Smith, David m Quillen, M. Seth Smith (2015). Exercise in Pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4622376/
Spinning Babies. Psoas Muscle. Psoas Muscle Release in Pregnancy – Relieve Pain – Spinning Babies