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Second Trimester Exercise

Second trimester is usually referred to as the easiest trimester. The fluctuating hormones that leave you feeling blah in your first trimester have stabilized a bit. Although not always the case, most women see their nausea and fatigue subside. You will probably feel better than you did in your first trimester. You will start seeing more of your baby bump and an increased appetite!

And since this is an exercise website, we are going to talk about the perks of exercise during the second trimester! Second trimester workouts are great. You probably have the energy to get through 20 – 30 minute workouts almost everyday. Try to be more consistent in your workout routine — it will help you feel stronger and energized, ease some of the pregnancy aches and pains, and create a solid routine that you’ll hopefully continue into your final trimester. Try out the Prenatal Workouts in the Moms Into Fitness Studio — for FREE!

One key recommendation, in addition to all the Pregnancy Dos and Don’ts, is that you eat a snack with carbs, protein, and a little good fat within the hour of exercise.

Adaptations for Second Trimester

Each trimester, the way the body (especially the circulatory and respiratory systems) reacts to exercise is different. This is why you should make modifications as pregnancy progresses.

Into the second trimester, your blood volume is up 30 – 40 percent above pre-pregnancy levels. What does that mean? More blood equals more oxygen to the muscles, which results in more energy! Research shows an increase in V02 max during pregnancy training, which is still evident in the postpartum period. V02 measures how much oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. Does that mean go run a marathon? No, but it does mean during the second trimester you might be able to jump/walk/jog more. Although you should never get to the point of exhaustion or fatigue.

The most common question during the second trimester is “should I lie on my back?” As your belly grows, this supine position (lying on your back) can decrease blood flow back to your heart. After 20 weeks gestation — or halfway through your second trimester — this can cause low blood pressure in 10 – 20 percent of pregnant women. Refrain from lying on your back for long periods of time, as well as motionless exercises.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time for core exercises that engage your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. We do a lot of these in our postnatal workouts, but making sure you core is engaged during pregnancy is so important.

Below are a couple of core exercises perfect for the second trimester. For more safe core workouts during pregnancy, check out our prenatal workouts.



Second Trimester Core Exercises


Setup: Begin lying on your back with legs bent

Beginners — start with only the legs. If you do not feel it in your back you can add your arms. Stronger muscles like the back extensors can take over in this exercise. Starting with the legs only should prevent that.

Lift your legs and arms off the ground, keeping your knees bent. Lower one arm to the ground and lower your opposite leg at the same time. Repeat with your opposite arm and leg. Continue to alternate. Maintain your low back on the floor and keep abdominals drawn down towards your baby. If you cannot maintain lower back, start by alternating arms. As you become stronger alternate legs only. Then progress to opposite arm and leg.


Setup: Working your obliques, deep abs and back muscles in a non-traditional way. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees — directly above your hips. Cross your hands so the heel of the palm is pushing against the opposite knee.

Without letting your pelvis move, push the heel of the palm into the knee. Switch side. Inhale, then exhale as you push the palm tightening your transverse abs.

Download the Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Guide

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