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, we hope your nausea and fatigue have subsided!

And since this is an exercise website, we are going to talk about the perks of exercise during the second trimester! Partway through the second trimester your blood volume (cardiac output) is up 30-40% above pre-pregnancy levels. It then plateaus for the remainder.

So what does this mean?

More blood = More oxygen to mama and baby = More endurance. 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 walk/jog/jump more. Although you should never get to the point of exhaustion or fatigue.

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

Early in your second trimester your belly might or might not be in the way, so modify accordingly. Workouts like running and jumping might not be comfortable towards the end of your 2nd trimester. And you will want to adapt. We have 2nd trimester pregnancy workouts – check those out here.

Second trimester workouts are great. You probably have the energy to get through 20-30 minute workouts almost everyday. One key recommendation, in addition to all the Pregnancy Do’s & Don’ts , is that you eat a snack with carbs, protein and a little good fat within the hour of exercise.

Second Trimester Core Exercises

If you haven’t already, now is a good time for core exercises that engage your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. The most common question during the 2nd 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% of pregnant women.

Refrain from lying on your back for long periods of time, as well as motionless exercises.  Try 30-60 seconds of these second trimester core exercises.

For more safe core workouts during pregnancy, check out our 2nd trimester workouts.


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.

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