Exercise During the First Trimester

While I've written about my first trimester in the weekly recaps, I thought it would be valuable to also write about how fitness and exercise has/will varied over each trimester.

I think it's important to mention that at my first appointment with my OBGYN, I asked her if I should scale back or not be doing any of my workouts, to which she responded "no." As long as I wasn't feeling any pain, I could continue with business as usual.*  

Breathing while running & pace
About four weeks into my pregnancy, I started noticing just how hard it was becoming to breathe while running! I was seriously sucking wind even running at a 9 min/mile pace (which would generally be easy for me). I think my body was adjusting to the additional blood pumping through my body and specifically to the placenta.

As a result, I opted to run easy (and have continued to) throughout my pregnancy. It also helps that my Garmin broke at least six months ago, so I'm just going by time on my trusty little Tar-get watch. However, just because my average pace is now slower doesn't mean I've avoided speed work. 

I have joined our Thursday night speed group for at least five workouts where I pushed the pace, but didn't go all out like I might have pre-pregnancy. For example, one workout we were doing 800m repeats with speed play and while my running partner seriously picked it up on the final lap, I was content with just continuing my challenging, but steady pace.

Around week 8 or so, I noticed that my breathing was pretty much back to normal and I didn't feel like I had done sprints at the beginning of an easy run. ;)

Listening to my body
After I found out I was pregnant, I continued to work hard, doing HIIT workouts and faster running on occasion, BUT I stopped or eased way back when I wanted or needed to. If I felt really winded or even just a little twinge in my stomach, I would stop and adjust my workout or speed.

As a result, I modified things. For example, during a HIIT workout, I often did some of the prescribed burpees as is, but  then I would switch to a gentler step-back alternative rather than shooting or jumping back.

In the first trimester, I definitely felt the effects of growing a little human when it came to my runs. Almost immediately, a five mile run seemed like a serious victory, whereas it would have been standard practice prior. There were definitely days where three miles was simply all I could handle because every mile just felt so far (not hard or painful, just tiring).

Accepting the distance and being happy to simply be running was enough.

That being said, I also have done some longer runs during my first trimester even though I'm not training for anything. Around week 10, I headed out on the trails with some girlfriends for 10 hilly miles of fun and felt phenomenal!

Giving myself a break
Too often, I go-go-go in an effort to do #allthethings as hard and as often as possible, especially on the exercise front.

Pregnancy has allowed me to say you know what, I don't need to go another mile or do more than 15 minutes of weight lifting today, regardless of what my ego is telling me. So, I guess you could say I'm embracing the excuse to just chill out a bit here and there.

In a nutshell, exercise during the first trimester was pretty decent and didn't require too many modifications, but I have a feeling that's soon to change... 

*Just a friendly reminder: Please ask your medical provider for specific recommendations or questions about your fitness program. 


Leigh said…
Way to keep up with your workouts during the first trimester! I found that the hardest time because I was so tired. I've definitely scaled back on my workouts, but that's okay with me. There is a lots of time after baby comes to get back into it :)
Amber said…
That's awesome you've really been able to keep up with your workouts while pregnant. I'm super impressed with my coworker, who is almost 26 weeks now. She still comes to the gym Mondays and Wednesdays at lunch with me and another coworker and does a hard circuit training/HIIT workout that we do. She also still teaches dance and barre and does yoga regularly!! It's been inspiring to watch her keep up her regular activities with a few modifications during her pregnancy and she said that forcing herself to work out did help with some of the exhaustion that came with the first trimester. I'm glad you've been feeling good enough to keep going business as usual with a few modifications, hope that continues for the rest of your pregnancy!!
That is great that you have been able to continue to workout during the pregnancy as I am sure the endorphins from working out help offset some of the exhaustion! I think keeping an open mind and not putting too many expectations on yourself is the key because there is a lot about the process of being pregnant that is out of your control! But that whole concept of not putting too many expectations on yourself applies to people whether or not they are pregnant. I am so hard on myself and put so much pressure on myself to get in X number of workouts a week and run X miles and while it's healthy to be motivated, sometimes I wish I could be better about taking rest days and not feeling guilty/lazy...
I am so glad that you are still able to run/workout without feeling any pain or nausea! I have seen full on 8 month pregnant ladies running around, and I hope you will be one of them as well!

Have you ever read the Mile Posts blog? I think you may find some useful info in there. Here is a link about running during pregnancy: http://www.mile-posts.com/run/running-during-pregnancy
It's nice to hear that you continue to run! I stopped running when I found out I was pregnant last Spring. I'm about 39 weeks along now, and I am missing it desperately. Hopeful to return to a routine this Spring!
Elizabeth said…
Love this and so glad to see that you've been able to keep with it, although modifying based on exhaustion and listening to your body. Glad that the pregnancy is also granting the opportunity to push a little bit less--it's funny how that shift can occur but also so restorative. Looking forward to continuing to read about your experience. Thanks for sharing it with all of us :)

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