Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy:  Second Trimester

Welcome to second trimester exercise. Baby is growing, and chances are, your body’s constant adjustments are making your prenatal workouts harder. However, pregnancy workouts, even in your second and third trimesters, is extremely beneficial for your health and baby. Need motivation? Remember that second trimester pregnancy exercises can help alleviate a lot of the discomfort that you are feeling by reducing swelling, regulating sleep, and boosting energy. Need extra motivation? Check out the list of benefits of exercising during pregnancy that you are giving yourself and baby. Remember, you got this!

  • Reduced aching and swelling
  • Sounder sleep
  • Boosted energy
  • Reduced likelihood of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean deliveries
  • May result in a faster labor and delivery
  • May result in a faster postpartum recovery

The Juna App is here to provide a pregnancy workout plan for anyone who wants guided pregnancy workouts throughout their pregnancy.  

Contraindications for Second Trimester Exercise:

If you haven’t read the Juna guide to first trimester workouts, which you can find here, there are certain pre-existing health conditions or complications that develop during pregnancy that are contraindications to working out. If you experience one or more of these contraindications, you should abstain from working out and consult your doctor. While many of these contraindications are less likely to develop during the first trimester, more serious contraindications may develop during the second and third trimesters, so it is time to keep an eye out for these symptoms.

Below you will find a complete list of contraindications to working out while pregnant. The contraindications that are bolded are more likely to occur in the second trimester. However, it is possible that the other contraindications can develop during the last few weeks of the second trimester. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

Absolute Contraindications to Exercise for Pregnant women– Second Trimester Contraindications Are Bolded:

  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • Premature labor during the current pregnancy–can be as early as the second trimester
  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

What Pregnancy Exercises Are Safe During The Second Trimester?

If you don’t have any contraindications and you have your doctor’s approval to work out, Juna’s here to guide you through fun and safe workouts throughout your pregnancy journey. You can continue the pregnancy-safe workouts that you began during your first trimester, which are listed below.

Can you run while pregnant?

  • Walking, Jogging, and Running are still safe. Depending on your fitness level you may want to shorten those runs and make sure you are listening to your body. When you are nearing the end of your second trimester, the load that running puts on your pelvic floor muscles definitely intensifies, so be on the lookout for any symptoms that you are going to hard. 


Second Trimester workout activities during pregnancy:

  • Walking, Jogging, Running: It is still safe to walk, jog, and lightly run during your second trimester. Make sure you are focused on your breathing and to listen to your body if running puts too much strain on your body.
  • Strength Training: You can still be building muscle during your second trimester! Focus on your breathing to protect your core and back. Juna’s workouts for pregnant women are focused on strength training. 
  • Swimming: Swimming is the safest and most recommended form of exercise during pregnancy. Get healthy exercise while enjoying a break from carrying the extra weight as the baby floats in the water. 
  • 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 Juna app
  • Racquet Sports: You can still continue with racquet sports during your second trimester. Make sure you focus on your breathing and to stop when your body is feeling overtired. Proceed with caution as racquet sports have a higher risk of falling or injury than the other exercises.
  • Chores: Remember that you can kill two bird with one stone by doing chores that 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 workout videos 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.

However, remember that your body is going through many changes and adjustments during your second trimester: visible weight gain from baby’s growth, hormone shifts, and aching and swelling to name a few. It is extremely important to listen to your body during your workouts. If your body is feeling over-tired or strained, stop, focus on breathing, and rest.

You can still get the benefits of exercising while pregnant without overworking yourself. That’s why Juna has crafted pregnancy-safe workouts that are easy to follow so that you can get all the benefits of working out without putting yourself and baby at risk. Check out Juna’s workouts including strength training, barre/Pilates, cardio and pregnancy safe core training here. You’ll see how Juna has quickly become the go to work out pregnancy app. 


Pregnancy workouts to avoid:

As discussed in Juna’s first trimester guide to working out, there are certain exercises that should absolutely be avoided while pregnant. These workouts are the same for second trimester exercise and are listed below.

  • Contact Sports (i.e. soccer, basketball, boxing)
  • Activities with great risk of falling (i.e. horseback riding, ice skating, skiing, surfing, gymnastics, etc.)
  • Hot yoga/pilates
  • Scuba Diving
  • Skydiving

Prenatal Exercise Myths

Pregnancy Workout Myths:

 We get asked questions ALL the time about the safety of exercise during pregnancy. As we’ve discussed, their are SO many benefits to pregnancy exercise but many people get tripped up with the whole host of scary & inaccurate information out there on the interwebs.⁣

  1. Don’t do anything you weren’t doing before. Newsflash- you can still start an exercise program if you didn’t work out prior to pregnancy. Like anything – start simple and work your way up.⁣
  2. You must keep your heart rate under 140 – This is no longer how we gauge overexertion because it varies too much person to person. The best way to gauge whether you are pushing yourself too hard is to use the talk test, you should be able to carry on a 1-2 word sentence.⁣ If this is challenging for you, you need to back off your intensity.
  3.  Exercising takes away nutrition from the baby – this is just flat out misinformation – in a long term study by ACOG they have shown that moms who maintained a healthy level of exercise during their pregnancy had healthier children with lower body fat.⁣
  4. Avoid all Ab Exercises during pregnancy, it causes abdominal separation – while it is true that SOME ab exercises can increase the likelihood of abdominal separation (diastasis recti)  (think sit-ups or crunches) there are tons of other core exercises that can be performed and are in fact encouraged in order to better help support your changing body. ⁣
  5. Lifting weights while pregnant is unsafe – strength training is an important part of a prenatal fitness program as it will help build the strength and endurance needed to support the postural changes that come with pregnancy, it’s also been known to help with delivery of baby and help you recover faster.⁣

⁣These are just a few of the popular fitness myths that are out there if you’re interested in a safe and effective pregnancy workout program the Juna app aims to take all the guesswork out of exercising throughout your pregnancy.⁣

Does working out cause miscarriages?

Expecting mothers often hear that working out while pregnant can cause miscarriage. However, this claim has not been substantiated by the medical community. Healthcare practitioners highly encourage exercising throughout pregnancy as one of the most healthy activities an expecting mother can do for her pre and post-natal health in the absence of complications or contraindications.

As always, Juna always recommends that you consult your doctor before starting a prenatal workout program. 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.

Check out the Juna App to find pregnancy safe workouts and guided nutrition.

Click here for Juna’s Third Trimester Guide to Working Out.