How to Get a Great Prenatal Workout At Home in 20 Minutes or Less
Working out while pregnant is always a great way to avoid aches and pains while your body is growing along with the health benefits for you and your little one. Sometimes it can be hard to have the energy to get dressed, drive to the gym, warm-up, workout, and head home. I started doing my second-trimester workouts at home so I could get back to washing cute baby clothes or just go take a nap!
If you’re a first-time mom you may be wondering what kind of pregnancy workouts you can do during your 2nd trimester, are there any limitations, and what to avoid. As a first-time mom, that was a huge concern of mine and I did tons of research to find out if exercising during pregnancy is safe. Let’s go over the common questions about training during pregnancy.
What Exercise Can I Do in the 2nd Trimester?
In the second trimester, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) does not rule out any specific exercise unless it is a contact sport, hot yoga or pilates, or an exercise that may result in a fall. Any exercise can be done as long as long as you don’t see signs of intolerance. Signs of intolerance are any coning or doming of your abdomen when performing an exercise. During the 2nd trimester is when most women start to see growth in their bellies and their abdomen starts to separate leading to coning.
Can I Start Exercising in My Second Trimester?
Absolutely! Any kind of exercise program you do during your pregnancy is great for you and your baby. If you are just starting I would recommend beginning with exercises like walking, yoga, or low impact strength moves like squats, step-ups, or shoulder presses. This is not the time to start running, jumping, and trying high-intensity exercises.
What Exercise Can a Pregnant Woman Do at Home?
Any exercise can be done at home as long as there are no signs of coning or tenting of the stomach when performing the exercise. There is no “bad” exercise for women during pregnancy, it is all dependent upon each person’s experience. Some great exercises to do at home for women’s health include squats, wall or floor pushups, lunges, and bicep curls.
Is It Safe to Do Sit-Ups in the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy?
Yes, as long as the person is comfortable performing them. If there is any discomfort or doming of the stomach during the movement, then they should stop immediately. However, there are many other effective exercises that can be done to improve your core strength that are not sit-ups. Check out this prenatal core exercise post for some ideas.
Can I Do Core Exercises While Pregnant?
Yes, core exercise is encouraged during pregnancy! It helps support your pelvic floor to support the weight of your growing baby and is beneficial for a vaginal birth. Some great exercises to strengthen your core safely include diaphragmatic breathing, deadbugs, bird dogs, and adduction squeezes.
Sample Second Trimester at Home Workout:
This workout is a quick 20 minutes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) style workout that can be used during the second trimester of pregnancy. Truthfully, you can do this workout during the first trimester, third trimester, or if you are not pregnant at all! The great thing about this pregnancy workout is that you can easily modify it to be easier or harder to fit your needs. If you are looking to make this workout routine harder, you can increase the weight of your dumbbells for a more strength training workout, or increase the speed at which you perform the exercises making it more of a cardio workout. If you want to make this routine a little easier, don’t use any dumbbells or slow down your speed.
Also, if you have no equipment at all, don’t worry! I don’t have any dumbbells of my own so I will be using a jug of water. Other ideas for weights could be canned goods, a paint can, a suitcase or box filled with books, or just the extra weight from your growing tiny human! Weight or no weight will still get your heart rate going.
Set a timer for 20 minutes, perform 10 reps of each exercise (lunges and step-ups are 10 each leg), and do as many rounds as you can.
Lunge twist with weight: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bring one foot forward and create a 90-degree angle with each of your legs with your back knee almost touching the ground. Then with your arms out in front of you and shoulders down, twist your torso towards the leg that is closest to you. Switch sides for 10 repetitions per each leg.
Kettlebell swing: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your weight in both hands. Keeping soft knees without squatting, hinge at the hips until you feel a pull in your hamstrings. It is important to keep your back straight throughout this movement and it will feel like you are sticking your butt out. Once you feel your hamstrings, thrust your hips forward and bring your arms about shoulder height. Remember, this is more of a hip hinge movement than a squatting movement. Perform 10 repetitions.
Step-ups: Depending on your fitness level and what you have at home, find a surface to step onto that is doable for you. Start with bringing one foot onto your step and then using that front leg lift yourself onto the step. Your knees will track over your feet. Take the leg you brought up last and bring it back down to the ground followed by your other leg. Alternate which leg you start with each time. Do this movement for 10 repetitions on each leg.
Squat to upright row: Have your legs hip-width or if you have a bigger belly, as wide as you need to feel comfortable. Arms are straight with your weight, squat down keeping your back straight. On the way back up, bring the weight up to shoulder height while extending your elbows outward, keeping the weight close to your body. Perform 10 reps before starting over.
Exercising at Home in the Second Trimester
Exercising at home during pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard and can help your body feel good up until birth. Working out during pregnancy doesn’t have to be restrictive and can help you stay in shape while helping your little one grow healthy and strong. Did you try this sample workout? Let me know in the comments below!