Useful Pregnancy Exercises for Every Trimester

Useful Pregnancy Exercises for Every Trimester

Staying active is essential during pregnancy but many pregnant mums are cautious about overdoing it. With this in mind, HARTMANN Direct take a look at what exercises and activities can suit during the three trimesters of pregnancy.

The importance of staying active

Staying active means staying fit and toned, something that you will rely on during labour and the birth itself.

But there are other reasons to exercise. Staying active helps to keep the pelvic floor muscle toned, the muscle we need to retain control of the bladder and bowel but is commonly stretched during pregnancy and birth.

And then there is the dark cloud of depression, something that can hand over pregnant women and new parents for weeks or even months.

But there is a balance needed. On one hand, you need to stay active and that can feel like a monumental effort on some days! And then, there is the importance of taking plenty of rest.

The First Trimester – Slow and Steady

The first trimester lasts from conception to week 12. It is the time your body will go through incredible changes.

With surging pregnancy hormones playing an important part in ensuring the fertilised egg reaches its proper destination, you can feel sick, lethargic and under the weather.

Or you may feel on top of the world!

Even if you are no feeling uncomfortable, slow and steady is the mantra when it comes to exercising in the first few months of pregnancy.

If you already visit the gym work out, run, cycle, swim and so on, most pregnant women are OK to continue but always seek the advice of your doctor.

As well as being more aware of your body changing – and your emotional needs too – exercise experts suggest being aware of fluid intake and your core body temperature too.

As well as working out, why not take up pregnancy yoga or Pilates to help stretch and tone key muscle groups.

Key points


  • Stay hydrated
  • Don’t overdo it
  • Don’t allow yourself to get too hot when working out


The Second Trimester – Stay Active

The second trimester runs from week 12 to 27. Most pregnant women find this is the time they ‘bloom’ in pregnancy.

Pregnancy hormones have peaked and settled down, nausea has passed and apart from the occasional restless night and bit of heartburn, most pregnant women find this a pleasant time.

With energy levels restored, it can be tempting to exercise more and harder but this can result in discomfort for you and baby.

Exercise experts suggest;

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Lifting lighter weight to tone key areas
  • Pregnancy yoga
  • Pilates

By this time, more pregnant women find high-impact or contact sports uncomfortable.

But staying active doesn’t mean bouncing around a Zumba class or keeping up in a spinning class. It’s important to find a mode of exercise that you enjoy but you also find comfortable as your bump begins to grow.

Key points


  • Your growing bump will affect your balance – take care!
  • Vary your walking pace to keep your energy levels tip-top
  • Rest just as much as you exercise


The Third Trimester – Regular Activity

The final trimester stretches until your baby arrives and although there are times when you feel more uncomfortable and lethargic than you did previously, staying active is beneficial to you and your growing baby.

Reducing backache, constipation, bloating and swelling, staying active has many benefits. It can also help you sleep better!

But it also helps you prepare your body for labour. Exercise brings with it stamina, something that you will fall back on in the hours before you give birth.

Being toned and strong also helps you to recover well after birth, no matter how you choose to deliver your baby.

There is a key difference in exercising in this final trimester – the ability to listen to your body. Feeling faint when exercising, vaginal bleeding, headache, shortness of breath and swelling in the lower legs are signs you need to speak with your midwife and change the frequency and impact of your activity.

Key points


  • Stay active but listen to your body
  • Walking is great but slow down
  • Swimming is a welcome weightless release – but take care as your balance will change with a bigger bump
  • Don’t forget to kick back, relax and enjoy these final weeks of pregnancy


Labour and birth are both physically an emotionally challenging. Just as you would train to run a marathon, why wouldn’t you stay active and healthy to train for pregnancy?

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My Birth Story | Olivia

My Birth Story | Olivia

Having been through the whole pregnancy and parenting lark before with Jack, I felt like I knew what to expect when birthing Olivia. I was petrified that similar things would happen like they did with Jack – a midwife who was so uncaring, an epidural done too late, a tear ‘down there’ (obviously not the hospital’s fault), catching an infection during labour and then being left in the delivery room for well over 7 hours after birth when they are meant to move you out to the ward or home long before that.

However, Olivia’s birth was on the whole a lot better. My waters broke around 11pm the previous night and Steve rung the hospital to be told to bring me in. I went in, they did multiple tests and since I wasn’t having any contractions and was nowhere near dilated enough, they sent me home. However my contractions started on the way home and boy, were they bad! I managed just half an hour at home before begging Steve to take me back and from then on, everything went quite quickly. I was given some painkillers and gas & air and they checked my dilation – just 3cm but they didn’t see any point in sending me home. I’m quite glad they didn’t as about 10 minutes later, I was already fully dilated and Olivia was ready to make her appearance. It was too late for an epidural and they wheeled me through to the delivery room from the ward. They asked me to just make one step and that was obviously too much for me in my pain addled state and I threw up – they quickly cleaned me up, got me onto the bed and within twenty six short minutes, Olivia was here. My midwife and the other midwife with her were amazing – they weren’t even flustered by how quick my labour was progressing and they supported me at every step – making sure I was comfortable and trying to ensure a safe and calm delivery for both mother and baby.

Whilst the way I was treated in my pregnancy aftercare after Jack’s birth wasn’t necessarily great, it wasn’t that severe. However I have some friends who had much worse experiences and if they considered visiting clinical negligence solicitors, I wouldn’t blame them at all – after all, giving birth is meant to be an amazing experience and when the care isn’t there, it can really ruin the experience and maybe even your life afterwards if the negligence is severe enough!

On the whole my birth story and aftercare with Olivia is much more positive than with Jack – the only two things that brought it down for me was the lack of communication from staff – I was getting phone calls to remind me of my induction at 8pm that evening when I had already given birth to Olivia – and the fact that yet again I was left in the delivery room for multiple hours after giving birth when I shouldn’t have been. The midwife even said I should be discharged or moved up to the ward within a certain time period and it didn’t happen. I was also desperate to get discharged as I’d just found out my Dad had a few days to live and needed to get to the other side of the hospital to say my goodbyes. You can imagine how distressed I was and how frustrated I was getting at the lack of communication.

Other than that, I cannot deny that the care during my pregnancy, my birthing and the aftercare in my checkups with my local midwife were faultless. My midwife (let’s call her C) supported me fully during the first few weeks of Olivia’s life as I struggled with feeding due to a lack of milk supply (the distress of my father’s death had caused my milk supply to be quite depleted). She supported me giving Olivia formula to ensure she was gaining weight and to ease the stress on me at an already stressful time. I now completely breastfeed Olivia, no formula unless we absolutely feel the need to use it, but I am so glad C supported me and made those first few weeks so much easier at such a hard time.

All in all, I had quite a positive experience this time around. Do you have a pregnancy and birth story to tell?


What’s In My Changing Bag? | Baby Birth Edition

What’s In My Changing Bag? | Baby Birth Edition

This post contains affiliate links & some products sent for review. All thoughts & opinions are our own.

This post was written up before Olivia was born but unfortunately as she arrived early, I didn’t get a chance to publish it on time. I hope you enjoy.

With baby girl due any day now, I’ve had to get a changing bag ready for when she makes her arrival. I’ve got my bag packed with the typical (and not very glamorous) essentials such as breast pads, maternity pads, old underwear and nighties and similar but what have I got in my changing bag?

I picked up this super cute changing bag from Amazon for just over £8 and it is perfect for our needs – fitting everything we need in there whilst also being suitable for use by both me and Steve. But what do we have in it? I’ve still got to pick up a fold-up changing mat, scratch mittens and some muslins but everything else we need is packed – so what’s in it?


We aren’t fussy about what nappies we are going to use and currently have Tesco Baby newborn nappies in the bag. We will do what we did with Jack and find which brands work for us – we were quite lucky in that most nappy brands worked for us so we were able to just pick up whatever was on offer at the time.


We were recently sent these WaterWipes for review and whilst I’ve been using one pack for Jack, I’ve put the other in my changing bag ready for when baby girl makes an appearance. The world’s purest baby wipes, these are chemical free – 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract. They’ve been great for Jack, not irritating him at all so I’ve got high hopes for when we use them with baby girl. (Note – these are fab for Olivia, wipe up all the mess without any irritation!)

Nappy sacks

I’ve packed this Angelcare On-The-Go Travel Nappy Bag Dispenser (priced at £3.99) in our bag as it seems so much more handy than having loose nappy bags rolling around. This will be invaluable to us when needing to grab a nappy bag in a hurry.


We’ve packed a variety of bodysuits, vests and a cute little outfit too – plus a cardigan – for baby girl to wear. I’ve probably overpacked on the clothes front but we all know how explosive newborn nappies can be so I want to be prepared just in case.


We are very lucky in that we’ve got a few blankets for baby girl – we’ve been knitted a few, I’ve been sent a fab one by Joolz to review (review coming soon once baby girl has arrived) and I was also sent this lovely Abeille 100% cotton cellular blanket in cream by my lovely blogger pregnancy buddy, Jenna – how generous? It is so soft and lovely and I can’t wait to use it with baby girl.

 I’ve packed my bag in accordance with hospital bag checklists – I just need to put her pair of booties in (another lovely gift!) and then I am done – Steve’s about to put her car seat in the car and then I think we’re all set.

What would be in your changing bag in preparation for your baby’s birth?

My Pregnancy Diaries | Weeks 34-36

My Pregnancy Diaries | Weeks 34-36

I have just hit my 37th week and was about to sit down and write up my 36th week of pregnancy diaries when I realised…I hadn’t yet written my 34th or 35th, whoops!

I think the reason I probably didn’t realise I hadn’t written one for so long is because the last time I updated you was after my last appointment. I haven’t seen anyone since then due to the Christmas holidays but am due to be seen next week for another scan and consultant appointment. I haven’t been informed that they want me to come into hospital a week earlier for a scan or an ECV so I am hoping that baby girl has turned around by 38 weeks as I don’t fancy having to book in for an ECV for another day when I am already at the hospital! I never had to have my ECV in the end with Jack as he had turned and was engaged by the time they scanned me just before attempting the ECV so hoping the same happens with baby girl too!

Weeks 34-36 have been fairly boring but extremely busy. We’ve been getting everything ready for Jack’s last Christmas as an only child, attending all of his Christmas events at school (he was a narrator in the nativity, so cute!) and we’ve also had major stress with my Dad going into hospital on the 23rd and having to spend his Christmas there.

Pregnancy symptom wise, I’ve still been suffering with heartburn and the occasional pelvic pain and she’s been very active as she prepares to make her big arrival. I’m constantly feeling exhausted and struggling to sleep. I’m planning on getting my hospital bag ready in the next few days ready for when she decides to make her arrival, I feel she may be early!

For now though I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks I’ve got before I have another newborn in the house…

My Pregnancy Diaries | Week 33

My Pregnancy Diaries | Week 33

Week 33 was a bit of an eventful one. I hit 34 weeks on the Saturday just gone so here is the run up to that day, my 33 weeks update. I yet again didn’t have a midwife appointment but I did have my growth scan at 33+6 (the Friday) and have been suffering a lot with various things these past few weeks.

I’ve been struggling with a lot more things these past few weeks. Getting up out of bed, getting off the sofa, managing the long walk to Jack’s school in the morning to drop him off and the afternoon to pick him up. Heartburn has made a comeback with a vengeance and the broken sleep is really starting to get to me – the constant need to go to the toilet, the inability to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

At my growth scan, they yet again confirmed that baby girl is growing perfectly so not SGA like they originally thought. At the moment she is currently still breech so we’re discussing what to do next – I’m due another growth scan at 38 weeks but they may bring that and the consultant appointment forward one week to 37 weeks in order to fit in the scan, the consultants appointment and the potential external cephalic version. An external cephalic version is where your obstetrician places firm but gentle pressure on your tummy to encourage your baby to turn a somersault in your womb to be head down rather than feet down.

I’m currently not too worried as Jack was breech from around 30 weeks onwards, I went in at 37 weeks for my ECV and he’d turned head down and was engaged, ready for when labour eventually happened. I’m really hoping that the same is the case for baby girl but if not, I will be having the ECV. If that then doesn’t work then we will be discussing the other options which would probably be a c-section, something I am keen to avoid.

This week I plan to write my birth plan (updating my one from when I was pregnant with Jack if I can find it on this ancient PC…), I’m planning to avoid the pethidine this time and instead go straight for the epidural should I need it – I am no good with pain and my pain threshold is rubbish. I will be opting for gas and air too.

This week is quite quiet for pregnancy related things but I am sure I can expect heartburn, being unable to get up from things and lots more in the weeks to come…yay!!