This site is brill. I started following it only when pregnant with Moo. I couldn’t put it better myself, hence copy and paste… take home message, Listen to your body!
Exercising With Baby in Trimester 1
I want to tell you a three part story about what happens to your body during pregnancy.
I want to inform you of what you might expect during your first trimester, and how it can affect the fitness regime you have.
The story begins in your first trimester. Your first trimester runs from week 0 to week 13. Even though your baby will be very small during this time it may be the point where you feel a lot of the effects of its presence!
The first effects you may feel is fatigue, nausea (the dreaded morning sickness that never seems to happen in the morning!) and dizziness. Hormonal changes cause a relaxation of your blood vessels, meaning they become more elastic and expand.
The extra volume (or space) in your blood vessels means that your blood pressure essentially drops, as there is the same amount of blood in your body. This is known as vascular under-fill and can cause the nausea, dizziness and fatigue. In some cases (like my wife’s) it manifests itself in the form of headaches and migraines too.
It is also the time where you may feel that your baby is more at risk, as it comes before the 12 week threshold where events like miscarriages are statistically more likely. The hormonal changes mentioned above can also start to relax tendons, ligaments and muscles. Because of the decreased blood pressure your heart also has to work harder at any given intensity of exercise.
All in all, don’t be surprised if you need to drop the intensity of your proposed exercise slightly to account for your heart rate and general wellness.
But there’s a happy ending to this part of the story! Although it may seem like a delicate time to exercise, there is nothing to demonstrate that exercise is more risky during this time. Be extra focused on the exercise movements that you’re doing, to ensure you’re not over-stretching, impacting or exerting yourself. If done safely exercise will not contribute to the risk.
Not feeling well and safety are common. understandable, reasons why you may not want to keep up an exercise routine. For your fitness regime these are obviously huge disruptions. But when you do feel ok, there is nothing stopping you making use of it and getting some form of exercise in.
The next part of the story is about nutrition.
Your brain is under a bit more strain due to the low blood volume too. It may be the case that you start craving more carbohydrate based foods.
The brain’s sole fuel source is glucose so this is perfectly normal. In most cases, listen to your body and give it what it desires. A small increase in overall food intake can be good to curb these carbohydrate cravings, without resorting to eating too much processed carbohydrate based food.
The final part in this story is related to your shape and size.
Don’t go too wild with extra food if you want to keep maternal body fat levels to a minimum. Remember, you’re NOT eating for two!
Baby weight gain or any other changes are fairly minimal at this stage, so it is usually ok to keep doing the exercises that you were doing before you became pregnant.
If you’re of normal, or slightly under, weight expect a few pounds of weight gain during the first trimester. This may make body weight exercise slightly harder than usual. But that’s about the extent of the differences you will experience from this.
As baby is still very small this weight gain will come in the form of maternal fat, which is a completely natural process. So don’t be worried if you begin to change in this way!
The moral of this story, at least for the first trimester, is stick with the rule ‘if it feels ok, it is ok.’ Apart from cutting your exercise intensity a bit to accommodate a higher heart rate, there probably isn’t much you will end up having to change. But everyone is different, so listen to YOUR body and decided on a day to day basis if you feel right to do exercise.