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Prenatal Series: Fitness in the First Trimester

Prenatal Fitness in the First Trimester

In this series Merrithew Master Instructor Trainer Laureen Dubeau takes a look at prenatal fitness through the lens of STOTT PILATES®.

Although early pregnancy may not be the best time to begin a fitness program, expectant mothers who have been working out regularly before becoming pregnant should continue their regular routine. In the first trimester (up to 13 weeks), there are a few things to keep in mind when building a Pilates-based program.


  • No real need to change programming, but lying prone (on the stomach) may be less comfortable due to breast tenderness
  • Nausea and energy levels may be a concern, keeping up a constant dialogue is important
  • Focus on maintaining fitness level rather than increasing it
  • Exercises should focus on strength and stability rather than increasing mobility

Exercise: Obliques Prep

Starting Position:

Lying supine (on the back), with knees bent, one foot on the mat, the other ankle crossed over the bottom knee. Place one hand outside the lifted knee and the other hand behind the head.


  • Breathe in to prepare 
  • Exhale and lift the head and shoulders off the mat, rotating the elbow toward the lifted knee
  • Inhale to return to the mat
  • Complete 8-10 repetitions on each side

Additional Exercise Options
Breast Stroke, Shoulder Bridge, Side Bend