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Exercises to keep you fit during second trimester

Added/Modified on March 18, 2016

Weeks 13-28 of pregnancy, typically referred to as the second trimester, is the time when women start catching up with their pre-pregnancy energy. The nausea starts subsiding and eventually goes away, allowing a much needed time for relaxation. Stepping into this period of pregnancy, women should moderate their routine physical work, while utilizing their recently found energy to stay relieved from common discomforts such as backache, muscle cramps and breathlessness through integrated exercises. Prenatal exercises keep the mother healthy, and also provide the baby with the required physical stimulation. Remember, completely shun any form of intense physical activity and always keep your health practitioner informed of your daily routine. You have successfully surpassed the initial complications of pregnancy and it’s time to prepare for the final faze while enjoying this period.

1. The supported bridge

Performing breathing exercises in the morning is the best way to begin your days during the second trimester. The supported bridge is a form of breathing yoga exercise, which increases blood flow throughout the body, making you feel more energetic for the rest of the day. You can continue to perform this exercise up till first 4 weeks of the second trimester.

How to perform?

Lie down on the floor and keep a pillow to support your head. Relax, and slowly bend your knees while keeping your legs comfortably apart. Raise your hips and slide a rolled bath table under the small of your back. Now, slowly lower your body and let your hips rest firmly on the floor.

Place your hands on your hips and breathe naturally to relax. Next, slowly inhale and exhale while taking your arms over your head, and rest the back of your arms on the floor or the pillow. Breathe in and out for a count of 5 while slowly opening your knees. Join your soles to form a diamond shape. Extend back your knees, and let your legs rest on the ground open from the hips while following the same breathing procedure. Last, slowly bend your knees back. Raise your hips to take out the towel, and allow your spine to rest on the floor. Breathe naturally for a few minutes and relax your muscles. Remember to keep your knees bent throughout the time after you have removed the towel.

2. Walking

Combining yoga with less-intense cardio-vascular exercise like walking is great for overall body flexibility. It does not intensely stress your joints and ligaments, reducing any chance of injury. As your pregnancy matures, your body’s center of gravity shifts. Therefore, it’s advised to avoid running exercise, especially after the 4th month. Nonetheless, you can very well continue walking during the whole second trimester of your pregnancy and even extend it to the last month.

How to perform?

Support yourself with a pair of sports shoes. If possible, try walking indoors or in less-crowded surroundings. Make sure that the surface where you walk is free from obstacles; remove anything that can set you off balance. Avoid outdoors in intense summers to keep away from overheating yourself. Moderate your pace during your walks and keep yourself slow and steady. Your workout intensity is not a concern during this period, but it’s always advised to keep it less stressful. Avoid fatigue, and always keep yourself hydrated.

3. Abdominal crunches

Women usually put on a lot of extra weight during pregnancy because of keeping themselves alienated from fitness. Abdominal exercises like crunches help you strengthen your abdominal muscles, while reducing the extra pounds accumulating in the abdominal region. Continue this exercise in a routine until you step into the 4th month of your pregnancy. After that, avoid any exercise that requires you to lie on your back for longer periods.

How to perform?

Lie down with your back against the floor and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Keep your feet against the ground and legs apart. Put your hands on both sides of your head, and breathe naturally for a while. Slightly raise your head and shoulders from the ground. This is your starting position.

With your hands behind your head, raise your head towards your knees, while concentrating on your abdominal region. Contract your abs without stressing the rest of your body. Now, slowly lower your body to come back to your starting position. Repeat the same for 8-10 times to complete the exercise.

4. Pelvic tilts

Pelvic tilt is a very common pregnancy exercise, which stimulates your pelvic muscles without putting excess stress on your body. Strong pelvic muscles are vital for a smooth delivery procedure. Incorporate this exercise in you daily morning and evening workout. It’s safe to perform this exercise even in the last month of your pregnancy.

How to perform?

Kneel on all fours while keeping your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep you head and spine neutral. Inhale while you gently tilt your pelvis forward, slightly dropping your hips towards the ground. While exhaling, concentrate and pull in your abs and move your pelvis backwards towards up to complete one repetition. Perform 12-15 repetitions for each set, and 1-2 sets during your workout session.

5. Crossover twist

Minimum stretching is important to avoid muscle cramping and swelling. The crossover stretching reduces the tightness in the lower back and elevates constipation. The exercise is meant to remove the tiredness of the first trimester by revitalizing your spinal functions. You can include this exercise in your daily morning or evening workout session, and continue it during the complete second trimester.

How to perform?

Lie down on the floor with your head placed on a pillow. Bend your knees at 90 degrees or less, and extend your legs shoulder width apart. Place your arms away from your body at a 45 degree angle and your palms against the floor. Keep your shoulders pressed against the floor throughout the exercise.

Start by raising your left foot, and place the instep onto your right knee. Support your head with your right hand and elongate your spine along the floor while breathing in and out for a count of 5. Switch sides and repeat the same procedure to complete one repetition. Perform 8-10 repetitions to complete the exercise.

6. The wave

This exercise helps to reduce stress in the spine while allowing your abdomen muscles to gain strength. It can be a part of your daily stretching morning workout. The wave can be performed during the complete second trimester of your pregnancy.

How to perform?

Place a cushion on the floor and comfortably sit on it. Join the soles of your feet and bend your knees to form a diamond shape. Keep your neck and spine in an upright position. Place your hands on your knees and breathe naturally to relax.

Tilt yourself forward and hold your legs near your ankles. Slowly allow your body to ease forward towards the floor, while breathing in and out at a controlled pace. Next, exhale and slowly role back your spine and tuck in your head, while sliding back your hands on the knees to complete one repetition. Perform 4-5 repetitions to complete the exercise.

7. The flapping fish pose

Moving on towards the end on the second trimester, it’s advisable to avoid lying down on your back as it can restrict the blood circulation. The flapping fish pose is a suitable exercise for performing in the second semester, especially during 18-30 weeks of your pregnancy. It helps in easy digestion, removes constipation, relaxes your leg muscles, and also reduces the fat around the waistline. Make it a part of your daily evening workout.

How to perform?

Lie down on your stomach with your head resting towards your left and your fingers interlocked beneath your head. Slowly bend your left leg towards your ribs while keeping your right leg straight. Rest your head on your right arm and close your eyes to relax. After a while, switch sides and follow the same procedure. Give at least 5 minutes to each side to complete the exercise.

8. Thunderbolt pose

Hyperacidity is a common complaint during pregnancy. This yoga position helps to improve digestion, and can be practiced directly after meals. This posture also helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles. You can practice this position during the complete second trimester, till the last month of your pregnancy.

How to perform?

Kneel down on the floor. Bring your feet together joining your big toes while keeping heels apart. Rest your hips on the surface of your feet. Make sure that your heels are not stressed and are touching the side of your hips. Keep you back and neck in an upright position. Place your hands on your knees with palms down and relax in this position for a while. Try to relax your leg muscles, breathe in and out slowly at a controlled pace for a few minutes to complete the exercise.

9. Waist rotating exercise

This is the only yoga exercise in the list that has to be executed while standing up as this position offers a lot of balance. Pregnancy can be tiresome and stressful both for the mind and the body. This yoga exercise helps to reduce physical and mental tension, and stimulate and tone your hips, waist and back. It can be practiced during the complete second trimester, and executed at any time of the day whenever you feel the need.

How to perform?

Stand straight with your feet more than shoulder width apart. Make sure that you’re completely in balance, and your soles are gripping the floor. Raise your arms forward away from your body up till shoulder height while you slowly breathe in. Breathe out, and slightly twist your body to the right.

Bring the left hand to the right shoulder, and extend the right arm and wrap it around your back. Look sideways over the right shoulder and hold your breath for a couple of seconds. Next, inhale and slowly come to the starting position with your arms lowered down. Switch sides and follow the same to complete one repetition. Repeat 8-10 times to complete the exercise. Make sure that you sustain your balance throughout the exercise.

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