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Question: As a professional female prenatal personal trainer in Dubai can you list what you think are safe and beneficial exercises to do during the second trimester and also explain how and why you think these are beneficial.
It all depends on the individual, so giving a general guideline is difficult.
For women with no pregnancy-related pain, cardiovascular exercises such as walking and biking are great.
Same goes for variations of planks, though I suggest avoiding fully horizontal planks on the toes from the 2nd trimester, due to the strain on the abdominal wall.
Incline planks are generally more comfortable than horizontal planks after the 2nd trimester, and can be done all the way throughout pregnancy.
Squats, rows (I prefer seated rows, pull downs and TRX rows to avoid leaning forward, again to avoid the strain on the abdominals), presses and lunges are all great exercises to do In your 2nd trimester, though some experience pain in the pelvis when doing lunges.
If you were running before your pregnancy or was running in your first trimester, you can probably continue running in your second trimester.
Question: For prenatal women in Dubai who are concerned about exercise and training are there any types of exercise, workouts, or specific exercise positions that should be avoided in the second trimester for safety reasons?
The 2nd trimester is usually the time during your pregnancy when you’ll feel your best and you’ll have the least limitations when it comes to exercise.
If you listen to your body and stop if you start feeling tired, hot, dizzy, dehydrated or have any pain or bleeding, you should be fine.
Third trimester exercises you can safely do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
If you have access to a gym then cables will be your new best friend. This allows you to position yourself standing or sitting in the most comfortable way without restrictions on machine size or unsuitable seats or parts of the machine getting in the way of the bump!
Otherwise a resistance band can have the same effect.
Cable chest press: A good upper body workout to strengthen arms and chest. This builds up strength to help with carrying the baby when it arrives.
This is a compound exercise working multiple muscles and the stability muscles will also be forced to work.
Cable seated row: Excellent for upper back. Upper back work is really important to help correct the kyphosis (increased rounding of the shoulders and upper back) that can occur during pregnancy.
Squats: A big energy burner, helps with circulation to reduce swelling and muscle cramps in legs.
Builds strength and stability to help the body cope with the increased weight load.
Remember – Always Listen To Your Body – Stop If It Doesn’t Feel Right
Recumbent bike: In the third trimester running or impact exercises become more and more difficult.
It’s safer to switch to lower impact exercises where you are supported to avoid injury as the ligaments, tendons and muscles become less supportive due to the hormone relaxin.
This way you can still get your cardio in which is beneficial for cardiovascular health and stress relief as well as helping to reduce swelling and muscle pain.
Leaning dumbbell row: Strengthens the back and arms. Improves posture and can relieve upper back pain by balancing out the load shared between upper and lower traps.
Bicep curl: Bicep curls with dumbbells tone and strengthen arms which again will help with carrying the baby.
Do both hammer grip (palms facing each other) and supine grip (palms facing up) to make sure you fatigue all parts of the muscle.
Tricep extensions: Best to do with dumbells while leaning forward slightly, these strengthen the triceps.
Lat raises: Standing or seated these strengthen shoulders and arms.
All these exercises should be slow and controlled movements breathing out with the exertion.
Two to three sets and a higher rep range of 15-20 reps is generally advised to ensure good form and not to over-tax the muscles, ligaments or tendons which will now be more flexible and less stable at this point due to the hormone relaxin.
Woodchop: Core work can be difficult especially towards the end of pregnancy but is still very important to include as a strong well-functioning core can even help make for an easier labour.
This can be done with a cable or a resistance band and works the main abs (the 6 pack) and the obliques as well as helping to stabilise the pelvis. Pull the cable or band in line with the chest from one side to the other.
Hover: Strengthens all layers of the abdominals. Start on all fours and then lift the hips higher so the knees are just off the floor.
Focus on the lower back and trying to lift it up out of the lumbar curve to as straight as you can.
Question: For prenatal women in Dubai who are concerned about exercise and training are there any types of exercise, workouts, or specific exercise positions that should be avoided in the third trimester for safety reasons?
High impact exercises such as jumping or running should be avoided as the hormone relaxin which is important to get mothers through labour is already working.
This means ligaments, tendons and muscles are not as stable as they were previously.
For someone who hasn’t previously trained before or is unconditioned the risk of injury is higher.
Single leg exercises can put uneven strain on the pelvis and can affect balance as anyway the centre of gravity has now changed due to the weight of the growing baby.
Prone or Supine work this is where you lie either on the back or on the stomach. You cannot lie on the stomach for obvious reasons such as the bump but also lying on the back should also be avoided.
The weight of the baby can press on the vena cava restricting blood flow back to the heart.
Lower back exercises. The lower back is already in constant extension with the weight of the growing baby.
There is no need to add any additional pressure to this already overloaded area in the third trimester.
No breath holding. All exercises should be focusing on technique with a lighter load and more repetitions. This should ensure safe stable exercises with no need to hold the breath at any point.
Avoid overhead work due to blood pressure and excess strain on the lower back which is already tight due to postural changes.
If you need help or advice about any form of prenatal exercises always use a personal fitness coach.
Training during all trimesters of your pregnancy is safe as long as you get prior medical advice and use the services of a fitness coach who is qualified and specialised in pre natal training. Some tips for training when pregnant are:
Finding the best prenatal personal trainer in your area of Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah is easy with the UAE Personal Trainers website.