• Why you should work out during pregnancy
  • Benefits of exercise during pregnant
  • Contraindications to exercising during pregnancy
  • Safe exercises during pregnancy
  • Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

First Trimester Workout Guide

Welcome to your first trimester, Juna Mama! Congratulations, your pregnancy journey has just begun, and you have committed to exercise for a healthier you and a healthier baby. Does exercising while pregnant seem like a complicated maze of “do’s and don’ts?” Don’t worry. Here at Juna, we have made it easy for you to follow easy and safe workouts during each stage of your pregnancy journey. Read on for your go-to Juna guide for first trimester workouts!

What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?

Are your feet swollen? Is your back aching? Are you having trouble sleeping? Guess what, exercising during pregnancy can help alleviate these common discomforts. Exercising boosts energy and straightens your posture, which helps to reduce aching, swelling, and fatigue. Exercising is also one of the best preventative measures against more serious health conditions that can occur during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and complications requiring cesarean deliveries. Want even more motivation to work out? Exercising may also contribute to a faster labor and quicker postpartum recovery. When the contractions start and baby is on the way, you will be happy you got those workout minutes in to help your body prepare for labor.  Motivated to start working out? The Juna app is here to help get you started and guide you through easy, healthy workouts so that you can have the healthiest and happiest pregnancy possible. Let’s get started!

When should I not workout? Safety first.

Even though working out during pregnancy is extremely beneficial for expecting mothers and is highly recommended by healthcare practitioners, it is not for everyone. There are certain pre-existing health conditions or complications that develop during pregnancy that are contraindications to working out. These contraindications  are health symptoms indicating that you should abstain from working out and consult your doctor. You can find a list of contraindications to working out during the first trimester below. At Juna, we want you to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, so we recommend to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise.

1st Trimester Absolute Pregnancy Contraindications: If you have any of these conditions or doctor, absolutely avoid working out and consult your doctor.

  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor

There are several more absolute pregnancy contraindications that are not likely to develop within the first trimester of pregnancy. However, we have included them in the list below so that you can be on the lookout for these contraindications as you get closer to your second and third trimesters. We at Juna want you to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy, and that involves being aware and prepared for potential complications down the road. Find the list of second and third trimester absolute contraindications to working out while pregnant below.

Second and Third Trimester Absolute Pregnancy Contraindications:

  • Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
  • Premature labor during the current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

There are also “relative contraindications” to working out while pregnant. These do not necessarily prevent you from working out while pregnant, but you must consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms before you begin working out. You can find the complete list of relative contraindications to working out below.

Relative Contraindications:

  • Severe anemia
  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Extreme morbid obesity
  • Extreme underweight (BMI <12)
  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Orthopedic limitations
  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Heavy smoker

Even if you do not see any of these contraindications in your own health, it is always important to consult your doctor before beginning to workout while you are pregnant. We at Juna want you to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, and that means consulting your doctor along each stage of your pregnancy journey.

Which exercises are safe during pregnancy? First Trimester Pregnancy Workouts

Did you get the green light from your doctor to start exercising? Great! Check out the list below  of all the safe exercises you can do while pregnant. During your first trimester, there are more options for your workout routine than your second or third trimesters, so try a mix and see what works best for you!

First Trimester Pregnancy Workouts:

  • Walking, Jogging, Running: If you feel overtired, stop, rest, and focus on your breathing.
  • Strength Training: Use weight machines or lighter weights with more reps to avoid injury
  • Swimming–be sure to slowly step into the pool rather than jumping in…baby can’t handle the quick change in pressure!
  • Yoga/Pilates, Modified–avoid stretches and exercises that cause hypertension or decreased venous. Juna recommends 30 minutes of pilates per week during pregnancy, which is why we have a 30 minute barre inspired pilates workout for each Trimester and Post-Partum period available in the app.
  • Racquet Sports–proceed with caution as racquet sports have a higher risk of falling or injury than the other exercises.
  • Chores: Whether you want to take a break from jogging, or if your house is demanding more attention that strength training, remember that activities like vacuuming, dusting, and light yard work count towards your exercise minutes.
  • Kegel Exercises: It’s never too early to start building up your pelvic floor! If you want to avoid peeing every time you sneeze in your third trimester and to help build up your muscles for labor, you will be happy that you did your daily kegel exercises. The Juna app workouts have Kegels built into many of the exercises so it’s one less thing you need to think about. You can also find easy-to-follow kegel exercises that you can find here.
  • The Juna App has guides for strength training, barre/Pilates, cardio, and pregnancy safe core training so you can have an easy and safe workout plan throughout your pregnancy. Follow this link to subscribe in the app and get these awesome pregnancy workouts!

During your first trimester, it is extremely important that you avoid overheating during your workouts, so no Hot Yoga or heated exercise classes. Your body is adjusting to your new maternal thermoregulation, which regulates the proper temperature for baby to grow. Overheating can challenge your maternal thermoregulation, which can be harmful for baby. Remember to listen to your body if you feel overtired. Try the “talking test.” If you have trouble talking while working out and are struggling for breath, stop, slow down, and focus on your breathing.

What exercises should I avoid while pregnant?

Not all exercises are created equal. While the workouts above provide you and your baby with many health benefits, there are exercises that could harm you or your baby. Listed below are exercises that you should absolutely avoid while you are pregnant:

Exercises to avoid while pregnant:

  • Contact Sports (i.e. soccer, basketball, boxing): risk of injury for you and baby
  • Activities with great risk of falling (i.e. horseback riding, ice skating, skiing, surfing, gymnastics, etc.): risk of injury for you and baby
  • Hot yoga/pilates: risk of overheating
  • Scuba Diving: dangerous change in pressure
  • Skydiving: dangerous change in pressure

Can exercising during pregnancy cause miscarriage?

Expecting mothers often worry that exercising and other physical activities can cause miscarriage or other complications, such as early labor or skeletal deformities. However, these concerns have not been substantiated in the medical community. In the absence of complications or contraindications, exercising while pregnant is highly encouraged by healthcare practitioners and is one of the most healthy activities an expecting mother can do for her pre and post-natal health. As always, Juna always recommends that you consult your doctor before starting to exercise. Once you have the green light from your doctor, Juna is here to help you craft an exercise routine that works best for you during your pregnancy journey.

For more information about exercising during your second and third trimesters, follow these links to Juna’s second trimester and third trimester workout guides.

For safe and healthy Juna workouts and nutrition advice, check out the full app here.