First trimester workouts: learning to adapt

When I found out I was pregnant, I was SO nervous about what working out would look and feel like. Over the last five years, I’ve worked hard to develop a workout split that I really love. Pre-pregnancy, I was running about six miles twice a week and lifting four times a week. So, what changed once I found out I was pregnant?

Not a lot…at first.

I felt incredibly grateful to wake up each morning and head to the gym. Most of my nausea presented itself in the late morning or around dinner time, so I woke up feeling pretty good (but still tired) most days. I was able to lift heavy, continue running and keep up with my 10-12k steps a day for most of the first trimester.

Around 9 weeks, I did a 45-minute treadmill run that felt incredibly difficult on my body and cardiovascular system, and I actually experienced some spotting later that day. This obviously made me nervous, and after talking with my doctor, she suggested that I try running for less time, more times a week. From there, I started running 30 min 2x a week and 20 min 1x a week, and I didn’t have any more issues. That run made me realize that adaptations were necessary. On days lifting felt tough, I decreased my weight. On days when running felt hard, I walked when I needed to. Realizing that my body was busy doing a LOT and growing a human helped me realize that I couldn’t do it all – and didn’t need to, either.

I felt the need to start making a few adaptations to my core work around week 8. I felt a lot of pressure in certain movements, so I switched it up and did moves that felt more controlled. Core work is really important for our pelvic floors during pregnancy, so I committed to 3x a week for about 10 minutes each time. I really enjoyed core work pre-pregnancy, but it feels a lot harder now. I’ll continue to prioritize it and adapt through the rest of my pregnancy, because I know it will make the labor experience and healing postpartum a little more manageable.

Exercising during pregnancy is so, so good for you. Unless you have been instructed to avoid exercise by your doctor, please don’t stop working out when you find out you’re pregnant. Adapt what you need to, give yourself grace and continue to put in the work because your health is baby’s health, too.

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