Pregnancy Workouts in the Second Trimester

You are finally entering the second trimester - woohoo! Sometimes those first few weeks of pregnancy can really feel like they’re dragging on, especially if you aren’t feeling well and haven’t shared your news with many people yet.

What’s up with the Second Tri?

First trimester is starting to fade in the rearview mirror. Depending on how the last few weeks have been going for you, you might feel like you never want to look back. So what’s ahead in this new phase of pregnancy? First of all, you can expect that any nausea you are experiencing will likely start to let up soon if it hasn’t already. Most women report that the start of the second trimester marks the end of the worst of morning sickness. While this isn’t the case for everyone, hopefully it will be for you! For many women, the second trimester is the part of pregnancy that feels the best. Your energy starts to return, you might notice that “pregnancy glow,” your baby bump will show up, and you’ll likely start to feel little babe flipping and kicking around during this trimester. So many good things to look forward to and celebrate!

Get a Move on, Girl!

I remember being SO tired during the first trimester that I barely had ANY desire to go to a fitness class, let alone work up any kind of sweat. But once the second trimester rolled around, I got a lot of my energy back and started thinking about getting back into my pre-pregnancy workout routine. But of course, I had a lot of questions:

  • What kind of exercise is exactly *safe* while pregnant?
  • Does doing crunches crush the baby?
  • How high can my heart rate actually go without being dangerous?
  • If I do jumping jacks will I go into labor?

Great questions.

The first most important thing is to have a conversation with your care provider about an exercise plan that works for you with your body and your medical history. Start there. But here’s a few basic tips!

Pregnancy workout

Any exercise you were doing before pregnancy is safe to continue while pregnant. Yes, really! Even if you were doing high-intensity workouts with lots of jumping and lifting. If that’s what your body is used to, then you should be ok to continue! The #1 MOST important thing: always remember to listen to your body!! And, once your belly starts getting bigger you may need to modify a few things here and there. But in general, if you were doing it before, you’re okay to do it now, too! I was a spin instructor for 2 years prior to getting pregnant and I was able to safely ride throughout most of my pregnancy since that’s what my body was used to.

In case you were wondering, crunches do not crush the baby. In fact, abdominal exercises are recommended and healthy for your pregnant body! Crunches are totally safe, although you may find that once your belly starts popping, you’re more comfortable working your abs in a standing or seated position rather than on your back on the floor. To do that, inhale, and slowly pull in your abs as you exhale to strengthen your core. This is not only helpful for conditioning but can also prevent diastasis recti and help with your delivery in a few months.

One thing to keep in mind: if any type of exercise seems to trigger Braxton Hicks contractions for you, talk to your practitioner. They will most likely recommend that you stop those types of activities as you want to avoid having too many contractions before 37 weeks as it can cause changes to your cervix. I started having BH contractions around week 18 and was diagnosed with overactive uterus shortly after, and realized around the start of the third trimester that certain types of exercise were triggering those contractions, so I had to modify my workout plans accordingly. Again, chat with your practitioner if this applies to you at any point.

Prenatal yoga

Exercise can be SO helpful and wonderful during pregnancy, and the second trimester is probably the season that you will feel most up for it. If you weren’t working out before pregnancy, there is nothing to fear in getting started now! You just want to take it slow and listen to your body. Search on Youtube for prenatal yoga routines, or try a water aerobics class at your local YMCA. And walk! Walk, walk, walk. Walking is incredibly underrated when it comes to excellent forms of cardio, and walking can really help to strengthen your body during pregnancy and prepare for labor and delivery.

As your belly starts growing you may struggle to squeeze into your favorite set of workout clothes. For a wonderfully comfy and toxin free maternity option, try shopping at Pact - they’ve got some great bike shorts, leggings, and workout tanks. Another fantastic brand is Girlfriend Collective - they’ve got sustainable, recycled material maternity leggings and nursing bras. Use this link for 30% off your purchase of $95+!

Other notable workout-related equipment I can personally vouch for:

  • These sustainable charcoal-activated workout towels from FaceSoft (code KristenVG20 for 20% off)
  • This stainless steel water bottle (it’s huge, toxin-free, and there’s lots of color options!)
  • This belly support band (super great for when your belly starts getting heavy and you want to go on long walks)


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**Please note, nothing in this article is medical advice; it is purely educational. Consult with your healthcare provider if you have questions.



Meet Kristen van Gilse!


Kristen is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and holistic living enthusiast, with a passion for birth photography. Kristen's journey from illness to wellness led her to embrace toxin-free living. She shares her expertise through photography services and valuable tips for holistic living.

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