2nd Trimester Exercise Guidelines

By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
If you are in your second trimester and haven’t been exercising but want to start now, that’s great! Start slow with a goal of 20 minutes of walking or light stretching and build up to 60 minutes as you feel comfortable. Just make sure to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor before you get started. 😊

Make sure, if you haven’t already, to check out our exercise guidelines outlined for those in the first trimester here. A lot of those tips still apply and are even more important now that you are further along in your pregnancy.

Exercise modifications to make in your 2nd trimester:

As your baby grows and your belly gets bigger, when you lie down the weight of your uterus puts pressure on the vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart. Some doctors recommend not lying on your back at all, while some say it’s ok for a short period of time. Consult with your doctor to get their opinion, and remember that there aren’t any laying down exercises that you can’t do a version of that is pregnancy-safe. For example, a dumbbell or bench press can easily be replaced by pushups for an effective chest exercise.

If you decide that you want/need to lie on your back keep in mind these signs that are letting you know that you need to get up or change positions: nausea, dizziness, lightheaded, or just don’t feel good lying on your back. The best way to get up from lying on your back is to roll to your side and use both hands to push yourself up to a seated position.

Now that you’ve got a little bit of a belly and we want to avoid lying on our backs, crunches and most other traditional ab moves should be out of your exercise programming. Front planks are going to be a great alternative as a total core strengthening move. Just make sure you are tucking in your pelvis for a nice deep core activation.

Another modification that may seem obvious, but needs to be mentioned is to not lay on your stomach. So no more Superman’s! 😊


Once you become pregnant your body starts producing a hormone called relaxin. Just like what it sounds – this hormones causes your joints to become more flexible to prepare your body for delivery. Be especially careful when stretching – avoid any deep stretches by staying in the mid range of a stretch.

Pearl Maalouf

Pearl Maalouf

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