By the second trimester of pregnancy, most women have shaken the exhaustion and morning sickness of their first trimester and entered the golden period where they feel good, have plenty of energy and are showing the first signs of their baby bumps. Your second trimester can be an ideal time to engage in pregnancy fitness as long as you opt for exercises that are safe for you and your developing baby. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy.
Good pregnancy exercises for your second trimester depend in part on your pre-pregnancy fitness habits. If you participated in a sport or activity before you got pregnant, it's probably safe to continue it through your second trimester. You may need to dial back the intensity or duration, however, if you're dealing with second-trimester fatigue, says Renee M. Jeffreys, a prenatal-fitness consultant and co-author of "Fit to Deliver," in "Fit Pregnancy" magazine. If you're new to working out, moderate-intensity beginner-friendly workouts are a good option.
Several types of exercises can be safe during your second trimester, according to "Fit Pregnancy" magazine. Yoga and pilates workouts modified to avoid mat work where you'll be flat on your back can help you improve flexibility and strengthen your core muscles. Water aerobics exercises are easy on your joints and safe if you wear water shoes to prevent slips and falls in the pool. Moderate-intensity cardio workouts, including walking and jogging outdoors and on a treadmill, are usually safe for the second trimester. Strength-training exercises can be safe if you avoid machines that press against your belly or require you to lie flat on your back. Stick with machines that help control your range of movement to prevent injury to your loosened joints.
Whatever exercises you choose to do, it's essential to make sure that you drink plenty of water during them and that you eat healthy foods during your pregnancy to sustain a healthy weight gain, says Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist on CNN.com. Pay attention to your body -- you may have more energy during your second trimester, but if you feel very tired or sore when working out, take a break and exercise the next day.
Staying active during your second trimester can have significant benefits, according to Jampolis on CNN.com. Women who exercise during their second trimester are less likely to gain too much weight during pregnancy and may reduce their risk for gestational diabetes. Staying active may also help prepare your body for labor so that childbirth and recovery are a little easier. Jampolis says some women who work out during their second trimester report fewer aches and pains and fewer problems with insomnia.
It's usually safe to exercise during your second trimester, but if you experience vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage, cramping, shortness of breath, chest pain or contractions, stop exercising and call your health-care provider immediately. It's also a good idea to check in with your doctor if you have swelling or pain in your calf -- this could be a sign of a blood clot.