What Can I Expect When Exercising in My First Trimester of Pregnancy?
During the first trimester of your pregnancy, your body may still look like it did before, but there are many physiological changes taking place during this first stage. Around weeks 5-6, the volume of blood pumped out by the heart each minute starts to increase, and your blood pressure may drop. These changes can make you feel dizzy with a rapid heart rate and a feeling that you can't take a deep breath. You may also feel generally sick and tired at this particular time anyway. All of this can make exercise during this period quite challenging for some but less so for others.
Despite these symptoms, if you are not already exercising, it is a good time to begin a fitness routine and you can do so without worry as it carries little risk for the baby. The UK Chief Medical Officer recommends that pregnant women should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. (See link below). Employ the "talk test"* to ensure you are not overdoing the intensity and make sure your body temperature doesn't get too hot.
If you are just starting to exercise, the key is to begin slowly – just 15 minutes per session two or three times a week. Starting your pelvic floor and back strengthening exercises now will pay off in the long term. What I would recommend however is that this is not a time to be starting something new, like running, that could be quite taxing on the body. So if you have not previously been running for fitness, now is not a good time to start!
* Talk test - you are able to maintain a conversation while exercising without feeling out of breath or uncomfortable.