Exercises for the Second Trimester
During the first part of the second trimester, you won't notice much difference in how you need to do your exercises. As the trimester progresses, and your abdomen begins to expand, you will notice changes that you need to make for comfort and safety.
Things to watch for include proper clothing and ventilation to avoid overheating. To stay well hydrated, it might take more water than the previous trimester. And general safety issues, like the shift in the center of gravity, should be noted.
During the second trimester, you may be lulled into a false sense of security because the pregnancy is “old news” — and besides, you feel great! Don't let this type of attitude keep you from warming up. Remember, those hormones can add injury to insult if you do have a problem.
Warmups and Cool-downs
You learned about what constitutes a proper warmup in the previous chapter. The warmup is no less important the more exercise experience you have. Pregnancy makes this particularly true.
The cool-down period is still a signal to your body that your workout is over. It's also a time for an important mental shift to take place so you can gradually begin to be aware of changes in your body. The cool-down helps protect your muscles and prevent injury. There is never an appropriate time to skip the cool-down.
If you've started childbirth or relaxation classes, this would be the time to try to incorporate some of your teachings into your workout. You can do some self-relaxation at the end of each cool-down period to entice your mind and to relax your body.
Childbirth classes come in many different varieties. Choose one that is independently taught by a certified instructor. There are many organizations to choose from, like Lamaze International and The Bradley Method. Learn about the different philosophies and find an instructor in your area.
Progressive relaxation is one great tool to use in life and in labor. Find a comfortable position for relaxing, like side lying or semi-sitting. Beginning at the top of your head, imagine yourself releasing tension from the top of your head as you exhale. Slowly go down through all the major parts of your body, paying particular attention to your personal trouble spots for tension.
Make sure to include your forehead, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, abdomen, upper and lower back, pelvis, pelvic floor, thighs, buttocks, calves, and feet. Feel free to include other parts, or even do fingers and toes individually.