As you probably know by now, I’m PREGNANT! While writing this blog, I’m exactly 27 weeks along, which we’ll be meeting our baby girl (yes, it’s a girl!) in 3 short months. I say short because pregnancy has been flying by so I think/hope the next 3 months fly by, too. I am so inexplicably excited to meet my baby! Since announcing my pregnancy, my most asked question has been “How are you adjusting your workouts for pregnancy?” So, I wanted to use this blog to answer that!
I want to emphasize that this is not a ‘if you’re pregnant you HAVE to do this’ sort of thing, it’s more of an ‘I’m pregnant and this is what I did, so you can use it as a resource to decide what you want to do’ kind of thing. One thing I’m a big believer in is that EVERY person is different – every pregnancy is different, every body is different, every lifestyle is different. These adjustments are what worked for ME, but that doesn’t mean they’ll for sure work for you, too. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about your exercise routine as soon as possible so they can give you personalized advice for YOUR pregnancy and YOUR body. Your doctor is the absolute best resource for any and all of your pregnancy questions! Especially if you’re having a complicated or high-risk pregnancy.
I still follow allll of my Bicah Body workouts, but I began adjusting them the moment I found out I was pregnant (5:26am on December 1st, 2021) and have been adjusting them as needed ever since! I was very active before pregnancy, so for the most part, I’ve made minor adjustments. Here are the changes I’ve made, when I’ve made them, and why I’ve made them!
I found out I was pregnant when I was only 3w2d (3 weeks and 2 days), and the VERY first adjustment I made was: I stopped doing barbell hip thrusts and barbell glute bridges.
Like cold turkey stopped. I haven’t done a single one since I got that positive test on December 1st! It just seemed like putting 135lbs+ directly on my uterus was not a good idea when a baby was trying to grow in it. Even though I used a barbell pad while doing them, it made me nervous to put THAT much pressure on the part of my body that was now carrying life!
So, I swapped them for banded hip thrusts and glute bridges and dumbbell hip thrusts and glute bridges! I just make sure the dumbbell is sitting on my thighs and not my uterus/lower belly when doing them!
Also, I stopped doing certain ab exercises. Not ALL ab exercises, as having a strong core is very important during pregnancy! But I stopped doing ones that put pressure on my spine and that could cause coning in my abdomen, such as crunches, leg lifts, scissor kicks, etc. I stopped doing those because of research I had done on Diastasis Recti, but I’m not formally educated or an expert on the topic, so I don’t feel comfortable saying too much about it. But I do suggest doing some research on it as well to hopefully help you avoid it during pregnancy and post-partum!
Granted, I was SO nauseous that I was barely able to work out anyways, but when I was feeling well enough to move my body, my workouts were pretty much the same as before, minus those two changes. Interestingly enough, I actually took up running when I was 9 weeks along because it was the only form of exercise that didn’t make me feel like I was going to yack! So that was pretty unexpected for me, but it was a fun switch up from constantly lifting like I usually do.
First of all, second trimester was HEAVENLY compared to the first! My nausea said ‘bye-bye’ right at week 13 and it was glorious. Which meant that I was finalllllyyyy feeling like myself again and ready to pick my workout routine back up! So once my nausea subsided, I went back to my normal schedule of working out 4 to 5 times per week. And yes, I was still doing the Bicah Body workouts! BUT this is when I made one big workout switch: I stopped doing exercises lying flat on my back.
I stopped this per recommendation by my doctor, as the second trimester is when your uterus starts to get pretty heavy, and if you’re lying flat on your back the weight of your uterus could put pressure on a major blood vessel, the vena cava. If that were to happen, it could cause a variety of issues for you and baby. So, to prevent that from happening, I was told to avoid lying flat on my back for sleep AND working out.
So, what did that mean for workouts? Pretty simple – if there were Bench Presses in the workout (barbell, dumbbell, whatever) I started swapping them for Incline Bench Presses. Basically any exercise that requires you to lay flat was swapped for an incline seated position instead!
Knowing Your Body
Those were the only strict changes I made to my workouts, as in the changes I made to every workout every time. However, as my pregnancy has developed and as my belly has grown, I’ve adjusted my workouts as needed for how I was feeling at that time!
For example, I felt good doing burpees up until a few weeks ago. I don’t remember exactly how far along I was, but I went to do a burpee and it just felt… weird… in my stomach so I stopped and haven’t done them since. Did I need to stop them? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel like I’d rather play it safe than sorry with my pregnancy and my body!
I’ve also noticed recently that pressing heavy-for-me weight over my head makes my stomach muscles feel strange, so I have opted to only use light-for-me weight for those movements instead. If ANYTHING feels off, strange, or not right, I usually just cut it out of my workouts at this point. Again, I might not NEED to, but it makes me feel more comfortable to, so that’s what I do.
I will say that I still feel perfectly fine doing high intensity workouts like peloton rides, EMOMs, HIIT workouts, and things like that. But it’s definitely important to note that I was doing those consistently before pregnancy, so my body is used to them during pregnancy, too.
In the End…
Contrary to some people’s beliefs, most people don’t have to modify their workouts that much during pregnancy! You can pretty much do what you were doing before with a few adjustments, as long as you’re feeling good while doing it. Listening to your body is KEY when working out while pregnant! If something feels off or too hard, stop doing it. If you’re feeling too sick to workout, skip it. If your typical workout is draining all of your energy, swap it. You are the only one who knows your body and it’s limits, so make sure you’re always putting that baby first by listening to it at all times!