Fit Pregnancy: Second Trimester Workouts

Second Trimester workout

By Kajal Desai

Hello beautiful masalamommas! It’s been a couple of months since I shared part one of this 3- part blog series journaling my fit pregnancy through each trimester. Before I launch into the glory that is your second trimester (the first 2 months of it at least!), I want to thank all of the readers for such positive feedback on Part 1. Read it here if you missed it!


I heard from many mothers who could either relate to certain aspects of my experience or were happy to have some suggestions for what they could do as newly pregnant women!

SECOND TRIMESTER WORKOUTS.End of second trimester_teaching class (1)

You may recall that my first trimester started with a bit of hesitation and trepidation – well the good news is that I woke up on the first day of my 13th week feeling like a new person! I felt like I had my pre-pregnancy energy back and of course it helped that I could start sharing the news and relaxing a little bit. As week 13 began, there were times when I was teaching my Doonya classes that I actually forgot I was pregnant for moments at a time when I would throw in a couple of squat jumps or burpees into my routine again. Two workout videos recorded at 14 weeks that can be done by fellow pregnant mommies-to-be!





Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan from Roy

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Jee Karda from Badlapur

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And it wasn’t just dancing and Doonya that kept me going. I continued including yoga and strength exercises into my at-home routine, as well as hip opening stretches and kegel exercises. Ladies, if you’re not doing your kegels yet, start now! I even attended a fitness conference at 16 weeks and was able to teach a two-hour workshop and do a couple of demos. Woohoo!

fitness pregnancy

But then… Right around the start of week 24, things began to change. Leg cramps, round ligament pains, and abdominal pressure set in making my workouts a bit more uncomfortable. After speaking with my doctor, I became more aware of my sitting, standing, and moving cycles. This is actually something I wish someone would have told me early on. If I did either of the three above mentioned activities for too long (say more than 1-1.5 hours at a time), the pain would start up.

I started to break up bouts of exercise for my moving periods and tried to avoid standing idle for too long while cooking or doing dishes. At night even when I’d feel like sitting for longer periods of time, I’d make myself get up to get water (because really you can’t drink enough of it!). All of this is simply to say that the first 2 months and the last month of the second trimester were quite different.


Though the pain did come and go – and at week 28, right as I entered the 3rd trimester, I definitely wasn’t going to say no to participating in a lip sync battle:




Here’s what an average week of exercise looked like for me, taking into account that sometimes my mind said yes and my body said no…or vice versa:


Daily: 1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) each morning. This was a great wake up stretch (and is whether you are pregnant or not!). Not sure how to do it?

Watch this video:


  1. Wide stance sumo squat (knees and toes turned out) to the ground and holding while doing kegel exercises. I would pull in and contract and hold for 10 seconds and then release for 2 breaths. I would repeat this for 3 rounds, roll up into standing position and then squat back down to repeat a total of 3 sets.  FullSizeRender(1)


  1. Push-ups – at the start of the 2nd trimester I could still do pushups regularly, but then modified to my knees around week 20. By the end of the 2nd trimester, I started doing them against the wall, putting my body at a slight decline by pushing my legs back slightly further into a diagonally straight line from my heels up through my spine. When against the wall, try to do a close grip pushup with arms in at your sides and elbows pointing back.


Monday: 1-mile walk around the neighbourhood (weather permitting) or on a treadmill

Tuesday: Weighted (3-5 lb. dumbbells) or body resistance, low cardio exercises. I believe squats and lunges are extremely important especially as you begin to grow and your legs have to carry more weight. You do, however, have to be very careful to not sit as deeply as you might have been able to prior to pregnancy. There is more risk of injury as your muscles are relaxed and easy to overstretch due to hormones.

Equally important? Keeping the arms and shoulders strong! See below for a sequence of exercises you may want to try!

Wednesday: Doonya cardio and strength class.doonya-beginner-breakdown-the-ultimate-bollywood-dance-fitness-workout


Thursday: I continued with prenatal yoga on my own but made sure to incorporate moves that were especially great for the hips, such as warrior 2, triangle and reverse triangle poses.


Friday: 1 mile walk around the neighbourhood or on a treadmill

Saturday: Rest day – but resting while paying attention to how long I’d been sitting!

Sunday: Doonya cardio and strength class


Sample Arms Workout:

  1. Bicep Arm Circles: Stand about hip width apart, weights in hand (3-5 lbs.) and elbows tucked into sides at waist with palms up (as if you’re going to do a bicep curl). Lift one arm so that it is in front of your chest and then circle in towards your body as if you’re calling someone over. Circle 12-15 times and then switch arms.a woman with her weights next to her belly wanting to be a healthy mom.


  1. Standing Tricep Swing: This is better done lying down but since that’s not a good position in your 2nd trimester, try to imagine your body posture and form as you complete the exercise standing. Stand with feet slightly apart, directly under hipbones. Keeping shoulders down and relaxed, bring arms (with dumbbells in each hand) up by the ears, keeping palms turned in towards each other. Slowly and steadily bring one arm down by your side and back up, while leaving the other arm up. Do 12-15 on one side before switching to the other.


  1. Bicep Curl (with optional lunges): Do standard bicep curls and if you have it you, step forward into a lunge with each curl. Alternate legs and complete 16 reps


  1. Upward Row: Begin with feet hip distance apart and both hands holding dumbbells with palms facing in. Keep arms down in front of the body and then pull up to chest so that elbows shoot out at chest level. Make sure not to shrug shoulders up but rather pull back slightly and squeeze shoulder blades together. Alright, wishing you all a safe and (relatively) comfortable pregnancy!


Please feel free to tweet me any questions at @kajaldancer or connect via Instagram (also @kajaldancer). Oh and in case anyone is looking for awesome maternity workout wear – my two faves are the “Sweating for Two” top by For Two Fitness  and the active wear maternity capris from Mumberry.  These pants really have great belly support as you grow!

Disclaimer: Always consult with your physician before starting any new exercise plan.

About  Kajal Desai

Kajal Desai, contributor

Kajal Desai, contributor

Kajal is Co-founder and Content and Choreography Director of Doonya™, a Bollywood inspired fitness brand. As the mastermind behind Doonya’s curriculum, dance style and fitness formula, Kajal Desai has developed and standardized the technique around Bollywood dance so that it correctly translates into fitness media, classes and training programs. Kajal’s past life as a Organizational Management Consultant with a Masters Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology plays a role in both Doonya™ team development and training, as well as client engagement and mind-body wellness.

Kajal is certified by the American Council of Exercise and has a lifetime’s worth of training in South Asian folk, pop, and classical dance forms, as well as years of training in hip-hop and jazz. Kajal’s most unique talent is her creative eye that allows her to take the influences that inspire her and formulate it into something everyone can access.

Kajal began Doonya™ in 2005 in Washington, DC along with co-founder, Priya Pandya, where her primary role was working with and teaching students age 3-18. The Doonya class model of positive body image and confidence building through dance grew to over 200 weekly students from 2007-2012.


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