You’re in the second trimester of your pregnancy, YAY! Some of the feelings and symptoms that you may have been feeling in the first trimester may be starting to go away in the second, and you may be starting to feel a little bit more like yourself. You might be feeling much more energetic, less nauseous/sick, able to eat some of the foods that were unpalatable in the first trimester – these are all awesome things! You may find that you feel like you can work out a bit more than you did in the first tri – woohoo!
Other changes start to occur in the second trimester such as breasts getting larger (unless you’re like me and those things were HUGE in the first tri already lol) and also baby is growing and growing and may be starting to show. You may start to get that adorable baby bump as opposed to the feeling that you ate too many tacos (just me?).
These bodily changes can start to affect your training. A changing body means a changing center of gravity. You may start to feel off balance or wobbly as early as the second trimester. Be aware of feelings in your abdomen such as pulling, stretching, and also shortness of breath (hey to my fellow short torso ladies!).
While it would be easy to put together a list of movements that you should not be doing, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Every individual is different as well as every pregnancy. General guidelines can be helpful and I will list a few but be aware that they are not tailored to your specific situation:
Lying on your back: Does this feel good to you? During the second trimester it could start to trigger some symptoms. Be on the lookout for lightheadedness, tingling in the legs, or a general feeling of discomfort. (I personally could not lie on my back for more than a few seconds without getting REALLY uncomfortable and feeling the need to get up immediately. Others feel completely fine.) If you don’t feel comfortable try lying on a slight incline for your exercise as opposed to flat.
Climbing Ropes: This is more of a risk vs. reward safety issue. What IF you did fall from the rope? What IF you did injure yourself or your baby? Is that risk worth the benefit of still performing rope climbs?
Handstand Pushups or being upside down: Same risk vs. reward concept as above. With an altered center of gravity you have a higher risk of falling over.
Lifting barbells past the belly: This one comes from personal experience. I did a LOT of Olympic Lifting during pregnancy. The slower pace of lifting felt better than CrossFit classes BUT what I did not anticipate was muscle memory. Muscle memory is an amazing and wonderful thing, unless your body is memorizing an altered path (aka the baby bump). It took me about 3 YEARS to get back a straight bar path. You’ve worked really hard on your beautiful bar path, do you want to mess that up? If I could go back, I would have switched to dumbbells and kettlebells for things like cleans and snatches.
Running: Running may not inherently cause a pelvic floor issue for some women but we just don’t know that for sure. Running is high impact and puts A LOT of stress on the pelvic floor which is already under a lot of stress from growing baby. If you are experiencing any symptoms such as heaviness in your vagina or pelvic floor, pain – anywhere, incontinence, or any feeling of discomfort. Another risk vs. reward situation where you should ask yourself – Is the potential reward I will get from this movement worth the potential risk?.
Single Leg Exercises: lunges, single leg deadlifts, any movement where most of your weight is on one leg may need to be avoided if you are experiencing any kind of pelvic girdle pain. Pelvic girdle pain can present in the SI joints, front of the pelvis (pubis symphysis) and in the lower back.
Intensity: At this point in your pregnancy intensity should be dialed down a bit. You should be able to talk through whatever movement you are performing. On a scale from 1-10 of intensity, I would recommend not pushing it past 6 (given that performing at a 6 feels good).
Traditional ab work: Crunches, sit-ups, planks, toes to bar, etc…This one is SO incredibly individual I can’t give a general guideline but knew it would come up as a question. Ask yourself risk vs. reward here. I generally advise to stop during the second trimester as there are lots of other movements you can do that don’t come with as much pressure risk. Be aware of things like coning and doming of the abdomen and if you are not sure get in contact with a Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach.
These general guidelines also do not take into consideration HOW you are doing something.
It’s not always WHAT you are doing as much as HOW you are doing it.
Have you implemented a breathing and movement strategy that works for you, your baby, and your pelvic floor for this chapter? I recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist and pregnancy and postpartum athleticism coach to put a plan together for YOU and your unique pregnancy/pelvic floor. For example – if you have a hypertonic or tight pelvic floor, you may need to learn some strategies to relax and release as opposed to working it some more.
Resources! Head to my resources page if you need help locating a pelvic floor PT, great books I recommend on pregnancy and postpartum, and also some courses.
Want some ideas on what to substitute movements for? I have created this free resource for YOU! If you are pregnant, postpartum, or have pelvic floor considerations and want the confusion taken out of how to modify the most commonly asked about CrossFit movements, you need this.
I go through what, when, how, and also provide video demonstrations for modifications of the following movements:
Stay strong, stay beautiful!