Pregnancy physiology - modifications as your pregnancy progresses - an overview

Pregnancy Physiology - Modifications as your Pregnancy Progresses - An Overview


Remember: pregnancy isn’t a fixed state - it’s dynamic, it changes, there are differnt things to consider each month and trimester. Let’s look at those things


First trimester

What you can expect:

  • To feel like absolute SHIT - the vast majority of women feel terrible, tired, low in their first trimester - this is NORMAL,
  • Nausea
  • High heart rate when you start to exercise

Modifications:

  • It’s important to adjust the intensity of your workouts to suit (less weight, more rest, shorter workouts)
  • We only really need to modify for that shitty feeling - nothing else really needs to change

Prioritize:

  • moderate workouts: mobility, light weights, walking or running a bit if you can.
  • Keep you strong for what’s ahead.
  • Mastering the core basics


Second trimester

What you can expect:

  • To feel much, much better. More energy, less nausea. Usually the intensity of your workouts will increase - you’ll be able to lift more weight and exercise more intensely
  • Often if you’ve continued to workout throughout your first tri, HR starts to normalize
  • BUT - you’ll also start to have a belly. This will look very different in week 14 to week 2
  • Hip/pelvic pain/leaking as the tummy grows and there is more demand on the pelvic floor (usually towards middle or end of trimester)

Modifications:

  • Remove front-loaded exercises, abdominal exercises, reduce impact (if you’re still running) -
  • Weights may increase initially but then decrease towards the end of the trimester

Prioritize:

  • Moving through full range of motion
  • Enjoying more intense workouts
  • Keeping back and bum strong for the third tri (and postpartum period!)


Third trimester

What you can expect:

  • Hip/back pain is common
  • Feeling more tired and heavy
  • Mentally preparing for birth and having a baby

Modifications:

  • We may need to reduce load with lower body exercises, do a little more upper body.
  • While we will still do some core work, focus will be on breathing, relaxing pelvic floor, preparing for birth
  • If you have symphysiolisis or hip pain, we may need to remove or modify asymetic lower body exercises

Prioritize:

  • Moving thru full ROM and doing what you can, while respecting the stage of pregnancy
  • Doing short workouts, going for walks
  • Preparing for postpartum period.


If you want to read more in-depth about recommendations for pregnancy fitness, you should check out ACOG's 2020 statement:

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period