Pregnancy Post: Second Trimester (August-November)

I had been pretty quiet about my pregnancy outside of a select group of friends and family until 19-20 weeks and yay, a month without bleeding and a gradual reintroduction of exercise.  I wrestled with this because when you have a complicated pregnancy you both want to keep it close because there is a lot of scary uncertainty you don’t always want to talk about, but at the same time you want to and should be able to celebrate what you are experiencing in the moment. So many families lose a baby in silence.  My hemorrhage luckily completely resolved and my baby’s growth is perfectly on target…actually some months I measured ahead! I have been able to start riding again knowing that my hemmorhage has completely resolved and that my placental blood flow is spot on and is giving the baby what it needs. I have to say it feels so nice to be outside moving again at any pace.

Happily, my pregnancy has gone from really stressful to really joyful.  My energy is amazing, my mind clear and my baby a great kicker. Maybe it really is the wonder woman trimester after all.  I have worked up to about 10-12 hours a week of cycling and home gym and even started the 12-week baby on board program on zwift developed by Olympic medallists Kirsten Armstrong and Dani Rowe.  My goal is overall health, base fitness and strength maintenance so I have an ok starting spot post-partum, but can work within my own personal pregnancy exercise comfort level.  For sure some women can do more and some do much less, but I am doing what feels right for me and my pregnancy. 

I actually thought my belly looked really big back then and felt so out of shape.  My E bike was a game changer to helping me back to feeling good.


Getting an E-bike was amazing for getting me back to a good base fitness.  When you are pregnant you are working within a limited range because your resting heart rate and working heart rate has gone up 10-15 beats and you are cautious about going too high, not that your pregnant body actually lets you go anaerobic, but basically, you want to always be able to carry on a conversation while you exercise. The E-bike has meant I can keep in base aerobic zones but not have to switch back up climbs when they become too steep.  Eventually as my confidence in my body grew I could join my husband on rides too and not even have to use turbo mode on the hills;-) 

Not really gaining any weight that first trimester it came on steadily in the second trimester also making the e-bike a great tool.  I have found my respiration rate has started to come down a bit…or maybe I have just gotten used to breathing harder.   I feel comfortable riding, but more so on my mtn bike.  On my road bike I have had to raise the stem and, on the trainer, I have raised the front wheel (Thank you first year chem for the textbook.  Still in good use!) AND rotated my handle bars to give me several more inches. This upright position is not the kindest on the but and I have a new-found understanding for people that choose the gel seats!

I know a challenge for a lot of pregnant active women is having even complete strangers telling them what they should or shouldn’t be doing, but I think if you listen to your doctor and your body you can figure out what is right for you and your pregnancy, because every pregnancy really is different and everyone’s fitness starting point and skill level that determines what is appropriate is also different. 

Pregnancy will be a reduction in volume and intensity from pre-pregnancy levels – more in some months than others, especially if you were used to a high volume and intensity program. Due to the ethical constraints of pushing pregnant women in training and the limited number of elite pregnant athletes to study, we could definitely benefit from more information and guidance on how to exercise during pregnancy, but “Exercising Through Your pregnancy by Dr. James Clapp” is excellent and “The Pregnant Athlete” by Brandi Dion has strength workouts appropriate for each month of Pregnancy.  Most academic studies define high volume as 8.4hr/week but for many elite cyclists, this is lower than our recovery week and 18-20+hours more our norm. Another gap is on the duration of intensity.  Many academic resources now say that high intensity is ok, but they fail to give real specifics of what duration, RPE and zone is considered higher intensity. All this can leave a pregnant woman desiring to maintain her lifestyle and highest healthy level feeling quite uncertain, but the best I can say is be true to your own personal comfort level.  There is a lot of evidence to support both that maintaining pre-pregnancy exercise levels is great for mom’s and their babes and also that by maintaining a reduced but consistent exercise level you really limit any fitness and physiological losses due to reduced training.  I had to take several weeks off, but am back to feeling quite fit and strong again. I haven't pushed to go above 80% so am definitely months away from race ready, but with a consistent base fitness comes back quickly and even if you have to take time completely off fitness does come back! If you are able to exercise all the way up to your due date it has been shown to help with labour and post-partum as well as your babies health and IQ in studies that followed women and their children from pregnancy to 5 years post-partum (Clapp, J).

It has felt like a pretty long road to get here- feeling fit and confident, but at the same time, like the time has passed quickly. I’m so happy to be feeling good and to know that my baby is growing well as I head into the third trimester


Trimester 1 Blog http://www.cpendrel.com/2021/02/pregnancy-posts-first-trimester-may-july.html

Pregnancy Posts: First Trimester (May-July) (cpendrel.com)


Trimester 3 Blog http://www.cpendrel.com/2021/02/pregnancy-posts-trimester-three.html

Pregnancy Posts: Trimester Three November-January (cpendrel.com)



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