One of the most critical periods of pregnancy, in which most of the baby’s organs are formed, is the first trimester. Competent exercise at this time will benefit you, and also weaken all the “special effects” inherent in this state of the woman – from dizziness to toxicosis. The prevailing decades-long concept of “do not shake the baby” is long and successfully forgotten. Modern scientific research has proven that even in early pregnancy, reasonable exercise is beneficial to the health of the mother and fetus, as well as making it much easier to carry a baby.

If you lead an active lifestyle from the onset of pregnancy, the positive effect of exercise only increases. According to the testimonies of pregnant women themselves, sports contributes to the production of endorphins, hormones of joy, so necessary during this period, and gives strength. In addition, good physical form will not gain weight.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

Benefits from gymnastics in the first trimester

First of all, a woman, who has a confirmed pregnancy, should understand for herself the main rule – no sports exercises in the 1st trimester without consulting the doctor, who leads her. It is worth discussing with him even the complex of physical exercises that were performed earlier, in order to exclude those that could provoke negative consequences.

If there are no health contraindications, and the doctor approved sports in a fitness center, swimming pool, gym, where a set of exercises for expectant mothers is offered, such activity already in the 1st trimester will create the groundwork for positive changes:

  • will optimize the processes of oxygen delivery to the fetus;
  • It will ease the general state of the future mother;
  • Improve the metabolism of the pregnant woman and the fetus;
  • reduce stress loads;
  • Reduce the risk of gaining too much weight during pregnancy;
  • Accelerate the recovery of the body after childbirth.
Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

General recommendations for physical exercises in the first trimester

Proper selection of exercises for the 1st trimester will allow to balance the emotional background, and training will bring pleasure. However, a woman’s activity in pregnancy will necessarily change compared to the previous period. And these changes will depend on the lifestyle that the woman led before pregnancy. If the girl was with sports “on the do’s and don’ts”, the load may remain almost the same. If, however, in the “old life” a woman did not watch her form and did not do even exercise, you will have to take certain precautions.

In any case exercises in early pregnancy should be done with increasing intensity, slowly, starting with a warm up, activating individual muscle groups, and hatha yoga might well help. Keep in mind that despite its obvious benefits, high loads and prolonged exercises in the 1st trimester might worsen your health, and even provoke a miscarriage.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications


When exercising in the first trimester, a woman, even if she has been actively involved in sports before, should observe the following recommendations:

  • Drink as much water as possible to normalize metabolism, stimulate the elimination of toxins;
  • Not to overheat during the workout, as it negatively affects the developing fetus;
  • Adhere to the optimum time for exercise – not earlier than 2 hours after breakfast;
  • try not to do gymnastics in periods when, before pregnancy, there should have been “critical days”;
  • remember to relax and breathe properly;
  • avoid excessive exertion – if the mother has shortness of breath, it means that the fetus lacks oxygen;
  • Avoid overexertion – to stretch your muscles 15 minutes is enough;
  • Be sure to monitor your well-being – pain in the lower abdomen should be a signal to stop exercising.

Contraindications for physical exercises in the first trimester

Some specialists are of the opinion that, in principle, physical exercises in the first trimester should be excluded for pregnant women, even in spite of their excellent health and longstanding experience of sports earlier. However, not all of them are so categorical, some of them believe that it is necessary to forbid physical activity only if a woman has chronic diseases or a health condition of the pregnant woman and the future baby that is incompatible with training.

Contraindications also include previous pregnancy miscarriages and abortions. It is categorically not recommended to exercise in any kind of gymnastics, if you have severe toxemia and uterus tonus. Also prohibited during pregnancy at this stage of pregnancy are exercises that put stress on the abdominal muscles; those associated with lifting weights and strong stretching; high-intensity, with jerking, abrupt movements.

What exercises are recommended in the first trimester

Despite some restrictions for exercise in the 1st trimester, there are quite a few types of physical activity that are acceptable during this period. Among them are:

  • Neck warm-ups and gentle twists;
  • Raising, rotating and spreading the arms out to the sides;
  • abdominal breathing;
  • Pressing with effort the palms into each other in the “prayer” position, when they are closed at chest level and the arms are bent at the elbows parallel to the floor;
  • From the sitting position, torso tilts forward and to the sides;
  • In “cat” pose, arch your back up and arch it down.
  • From prone position gluteal bridge or raising the pelvis, the hands should be on the floor parallel to the body, legs bent at the knees, and you need to freeze at the highest point and smoothly lower the pelvis almost to the floor.

During this period it is good to do fitness, swimming, perinatal yoga, do exercises with a fitball, take walks in the air. It is useful to do breathing exercises.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

The Kegel Method – exercises for intimate muscles

Perform Kegel exercises, as well as any other during pregnancy, should only be done after consultation with a gynecologist who supervises the woman. These exercises in the 1st trimester, as well as throughout the whole period of carrying a fetus, are aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The complex of these exercises is repeated 4-5 times a day with an initial muscle strain of 3-5 seconds, increasing later to possible limits.

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The complex of Kegel exercises includes:

  • tension and relaxation of the perineal muscles for 5 seconds with repetition 10-15 times;
  • contraction with a delay of the muscles at the entrance of the vagina with tension of the muscles in the deepest part of the vagina up to the maximum and then back relaxation;
  • maximal fast contraction and relaxation of perineum muscles for 5 seconds, followed by repetition after the same time of rest;
  • alternating tension of the muscles of the anus and vagina.

Yoga for Pregnant Women in the First Trimester

Perinatal yoga is one of the recommended types of exercises for pregnant women.

If an expectant mother has previously practiced yoga, she may well continue this beneficial and wise practice. You will only need to make minor adjustments to a number of asanas. Even for those who have a lot of experience in yoga, it is recommended to reduce the load and devote at least one third of the class to relaxation practice and breathing adjustments, excluding any asanas that create discomfort.

In addition, it is recommended to take no longer than 5 breathing cycles per pose, and if you feel very tired – even shorter. For those who are just about to start perinatal yoga classes, it is worth to adhere exactly to the trainer’s advice and to consult with your doctor. At this early stage of pregnancy, a complete restructuring of the woman’s psyche and body takes place, so any overloading is unacceptable.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

Exercises in yoga: useful and not worth doing

Those who do yoga exercises in the 1st trimester are recommended to perform asanas, with sitting bends, which help to prevent lower back and tailbone pain and preserve posture, for example, Pashchimottanasana and Janu Shirshasana. It is also acceptable to practice standing asanas without pressure on the abdomen, which help to strengthen the legs, for example, Utthita Parshvakonasana and Utthita Trikonasana. Sitting and half-lying poses are also useful in the first trimester for opening up the hip joints, such as Ardha Padmasana and Baddha Konasana.

Some other yoga exercises should be performed with caution, and those that put a lot of pressure on the stomach should be avoided. The fixation of allowed asanas should be kept until the feeling of fatigue appears. The power asanas should be performed extremely carefully. Standing exercises in the 1st trimester are recommended to be excluded, if there is a history of abortion.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

Fitness exercises in the 1st trimester

Exercise in the 1st trimester is welcomed, relating to any approved types of motor activity. Fitness training during this period is aimed primarily at improving gas exchange in tissues, strengthening the cardiovascular system, and only afterwards – at working out ligaments and muscles. Physician-approved forms of fitness for pregnant women in the early stages can include, for example, walking and hiking in the fresh air – both are an excellent gentle cardio load.

In addition, it is the prevention of varicose veins and just a pleasant pastime. As exercises for the first trimester you can use water activities – the only exception is swimming in a crawl. Exercises on a phyto-ball, excluding those that involve straining the abdominal muscles, also have a beneficial effect on your well-being. It is not necessary to refuse Pilates with calm and smooth movements, as well as breathing exercises.

Choosing the best exercise

If you become pregnant, before you start or continue exercising, it is worth coordinating the exercise regime in the 1st trimester with your doctor and discuss with him the permissible loads during this period. Exercise duration of 20-30 minutes daily is considered optimal and much more favorable than a two-hour workout once a week. In women who were actively engaged in sports before pregnancy, the intensity and duration of exercise can be much higher.

However, do not forget that aerobic exercise lasting more than 45 minutes can lead to hypoglycemia – a lack of blood glucose. Therefore, it is necessary to eat well before such exercises. Of course, women who were not engaged in physical activity before pregnancy, should begin with minimal exercise, gradually increasing them in the process of pregnancy.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

Proper exercise

When exercising in the first trimester, as in all other periods of pregnancy, you should try to perform them correctly, even if they are trivial morning exercises. Because otherwise they can not only be of no benefit, but also, on the contrary, harmful to the body. This is in the case if a woman has no experience and skill to perform such exercises.

Therefore, to begin with, you need to exercise with a trainer who has a special certificate for working with pregnant women, who will help to work out the correct technique and monitor the correctness of performance. It is very important to monitor breathing, not to strain the abdominal muscles, to avoid injury and stretching of joints and muscles, the correct use of breathing exercises.

Exercises in the 1st trimester of pregnancy – benefits, indications and contraindications

Set of exercises for the 1st trimester – fitbol

In addition to the usual morning exercise, fitness and yoga exercises in the 1st trimester it is advisable to include training with a fitball, which facilitates their performance and contributes to the smooth development of different muscle groups. The set of exercises can include, for example, the position of sitting on the ball with legs wide apart and the performance of body tilts in different directions. The exercise of sitting on a chair or lying on the floor and squeezing a fitball between the legs, squeezing and unclenching the ball alternately, without releasing it from the clamp, will also be useful.

The exercises of the first trimester should include pelvic circular rotations performed while sitting on the fitball. Another option is to lie on your back and put one leg bent at the knee on the ball, place the other on the floor and roll the ball back and forth while straightening it. Repeat the exercise several times, then do the same with the other leg.

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