Working Out in Your First Trimester

Congratulations! You’re newly pregnant! I’m always honoured to be the first to know when my clients find out this happy news because they all want to know how to safely continue to exercise throughout their pregnancies.

In terms of safety during your first trimester, nothing needs to change. Baby is a tiny speck protected in your uterus behind your pubic bone. So keep doing whatever forms of exercise you love with no worries about keeping the baby safe. He or she is well protected and cozy!

The first trimester is often the toughest — especially the first time around when you aren’t sure what to expect. Sometime around the 7-week mark, you may become more tired than you ever thought you could be. Going to bed at 7 pm may seem like the best idea, as will any other minutes you can spend napping.

Women often let exercise slide during the first trimester because they feel too tired. But here’s the thing: exercise gives you energy and helps to combat fatigue! Now, I would never suggest that someone in the first-trimester workout to failure or partake in crazy HIIT workouts. Moderate-intensity exercise will improve mood and fatigue and could be the key to getting through those exhausting first weeks. I always recommend to my clients to keep the same exercise routine they’ve always had in terms of timing while being gentler during their workouts. On a rough day, just to go through the motions without pushing too hard. 

We often get the all-or-nothing principle in our heads and feel as though there is no point if you can’t go all-out, but spending 30-60 minutes moving and doing something for you will help you feel better! Do your best to maintain the same number of workouts but give yourself permission to work at an intensity that helps you feel better afterward rather than worse.  Remember that if you exhaust yourself so much that you can’t get through your day you are very likely to quit exercising altogether. Know there is so much value in listening to your body and taking it a little easier than normal.

Now let’s talk about the other challenge in the first trimester: nausea! Let me tell you, I have never been so sick in my life as I was during my first trimesters with my two daughters. I couldn’t eat anything I cooked myself. If I looked at my fridge I’d throw up. If I thought about my fridge I would throw up! Grocery shopping was torture. I abandoned many shopping carts full of food to go heave in the parking lot (the smell of the dairy section…. and the olives…). 

Now, on the same wavelength as my advice on coping with fatigue: to combat nausea, moderate exercise is very likely to help you feel better. Overdoing it is very likely to make you feel worse. So use your workouts as a tool to improve how you feel which might mean chilling out a little. If your nausea is off the charts do listen to your body and take it easy. Change out any exercises that make you feel worse for things that make you feel better (often high-intensity or up/down movements will make nausea worse so substitute for things that feel okay to you). 

The last thing we should talk about is what type of workout is appropriate. People will ask me “Can I keep doing Crossfit?” or “Can I keep doing Hot Yoga?” etc.  You can keep doing whatever you’ve been doing. All you have to do is listen to your body and give yourself permission to be a little gentler until trimester two rolls around and your energy comes back.

Let your body be your guide and know that turning up for your workout, listening to your body and leaving feeling great is all you need to do to keep fit during trimester one!

This blog post was written by Coach Kate Laird