Exercising in the second trimester
Congratulations if you are pregnant and have just hit your second trimester! The lethargic, nauseating, secretive first bit is over, woo hoo. If you are still there, you might find my last post on exercising in the first trimester interesting. Again, I can only speak from my experience and I am in no way a medical practitioner or a fitness professional, but hopefully if you are in a certain stage of your pregnancy you will find this useful, and if not then maybe it will be an insight into the mind of a pregnant lady! Here's my thoughts on exercising in the second trimester:
- You will get your energy back…eventually. The general consensus online is you hit your second trimester and suddenly you are in the pregnancy honeymoon phase. Stupidly, I was therefore expecting to suddenly feel like I was walking on air come week 14, which I didn’t. I’d say it took me until about week 16 to stop feeling so inexplicably tired and start feeling myself again.
- Exercise might get easier to schedule. I managed to my exercise routine back on track and I am now quite consistently undertaking one yoga session, one front crawl swim and one weights gym session a week. My Sunday gym trip (probably when most of the population was quite rightly enjoying a lazy morning in bed, hungover) turned into a bit of a ritual for a while and I really enjoyed being able to take my time where I wouldn’t have the luxury before work or in a lunchbreak. However, I have learnt to go straight home after to refuel and relax for the rest of the afternoon, rather than racing off for brunch plans or something as the tiredness still often pervades me.
- Your bump will make an appearance (obvious I know). Lurching forward during yoga sessions and a badminton game became noticeably more difficult post 22 weeks for me and certain exercises (burpees for e.g.) became unsuitable so it’s definitely worth modifying your activities and exercises at this point.
- Regular gym classes may not be suitable. I am disappointed my gym The Third Space (Soho) only offers one pre-natal specific class a week, and I have felt too unfit to rock up at a class I would have previously felt comfortable attending. Granted, some of this might be in my head, but I have preferred the control a sole session can give me than being the preggo in the back of a class doing loads of adjustments or generally feeling really out of breath. If in doubt, call ahead to check the instructor is comfortable and experienced enough for you to attend - this should be a given, I know, but I have been told yoga teachers won't have the time to make modifications for me so I shouldn't go to a regular yoga class. Pretty shocking.
- You may need some new lycra. Several times I’ve bundled kit into my bag in the morning which I have then changed into at the gym only to realise too late that it’s completely not working for my pregnancy bod! It’s definitely worth working out what still fits you beforehand rather than self-consciously pulling your tshirt down for the hour long yoga class.
- Not strictly exercise related but your body confidence might take a knock. Some people really love having a bump but I have to admit I found it some getting used to and often still feel self-conscious. I’ve felt like I stick out in the gym with my new and growing body which I don’t recognise every day, which in itself comes with feelings of guilt as pregnancy is of course a privilege not everyone can experience. At its worst I was getting changed in the gym toilet cubicle for fear someone might see my naked bump, but I am starting to appreciate the pregnancy changes are temporary and are nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard to maintain that outlook when you don’t feel yourself and the world and his wife comments on your appearance (“wow, you’ve grown!”, “you don’t even look pregnant from behind” (what does that one even mean?!), “you’re carrying very high/low” and a recent one from a male colleague at work “don’t worry, you’ll find you lose the pregnancy weight pretty quickly” – cheers mate for your uninvited input on my body – when was the last time I commented on your weight and when you are planning on losing the extra padding?!) I don’t want my pregnancy to be ignored (I think about it every second of the day) but equally it’s not my whole identity – and my body is still my body. Close friends aside, it can feel slightly invasive when people keep clocking my bump when talking to me, or worse reaching out to try and rub me.
I asked a fellow blogger about her second trimester exercise routine and here’s what she said, “I went from running a marathon at 20 weeks to having to run a maximum of 20 miles a week but now [I’m in the third trimester,] I’ve plateaued. Pregnancy feels a lot like marathon training. There’s an exciting first part, a fairly standard middle part and some hard graft near the end when you just want to get to taper and race day.” Well said Gill @ blandontherun.com (and congratulations on your very recent new arrival!).
Let me know your experiences of exercising in the second trimester, I would love to hear them!