Third Trimester Exercise – All your questions answered!

third_trimester_exercise_ourfitfamilylife

The home stretch is here! 

Many expecting Moms find that exercising becomes considerably harder as pregnancy progresses. You may start to feel uncomfortable and awkward. Additionally your focus may have shifted from exercising to preparing for birth. But remember, not only will being active help you feel better, you’ll also improve your chances of a quick and uncomplicated birth. 

Be proud of you new shape, you will soon be a Mother! 

the 10 Most important Third Trimester Exercise Guidelines

In addition to the modifications you’ve already adopted during the first and second trimester, there are few new things to pay attention to during your 3rd trimester exercises. Let’s answer all your questions and review the most important pregnancy tips.



1- “Should I kegel?”

This may shock you if you’re not already familiar with my pelvic floor exercises, but you shouldn’t simply work to strengthen pelvic floor muscles! Remember that the goal of pelvic floor exercise is to improve and maintain function, not tightness. The Pelvic floor muscles function just like every muscle in your body, and a tight muscle simply can’t do its job properly.

Practice abdominal breathing exercises instead. These exercises are the best third trimester exercise I can recommend (see below).


2- “If there’s only 1 third trimester exercise I should be doing, which one is it?”

Abdominal breathing exercises are THE exercises you should be doing.

These core exercises help you breathe properly, strengthen your transverse abdominal muscles, improve your pelvic floor function (unlike the famous kegels!), prevent a severe ab separation and prepare your pelvic floor for birth and recovery!  This has been key since before hitting the 3rd trimester, but continue to ensure you can entirely relax your pelvic floor on the inhale phase of the core exercises.

Pregnancy Fitness Plan  - The Mommy Body Bliss Series

Pregnancy Fitness Plan - The Mommy Body Bliss Series


3- “I’m afraid of tripping or failing while working out. Should I stop exercising?”

The last trimester is known to be one of the greatest anatomical changes a woman can experience! Third trimester exercise may be challenging, but exercising is still very beneficial and doable with your sizable bump, if you still have your Doctor’s approval. 

As your bump keeps growing, your shape changes and so does your balance, but this is no reason to stop exercising. 

Your center of gravity begins shifting forward and stability may start to be more challenging. Certain moves and ball exercises can leave you a little off balance, so have a wall or a chair close by to steady yourself and listen to your body. If it feels off, then back off and choose a more steady exercise (you can still exercise laying on your side, on all fours or sitting on your yoga mat).

 

4- “I’ve heard of Relaxin, does it mean I shouldn’t I stretch?”

Stretching - Third trimester exercise

Stretching - Third trimester exercise

Stretching is a great third trimester exercise to ease some of the aches of pregnancy, and can also help to promote a full range of motion within the joints.

But keep in mind that because of the hormone Relaxin coursing through the body, it’s easier to overstretch the muscles. So stretch within stable limits, stay conservative and your range of motion small and comfortable.

 

5- “What if I suffer from round ligament pain?”

As your baby grows, the round ligament (which attaches from your uterus to your groin) stretches and can cause pain during a portion of your pregnancy. It’s usually experienced as a sharp pain in the lower belly or groan area. 

Think third trimester exercise smart! The most important modification you can make during pregnancy is to increase your awareness of what's going on with your body. 

Each woman and pregnancy is different. Modify the exercises and intensity when needed. If you experience ligament pain during pregnancy, lunges may be difficult. If that's the case, squats may suit you better. 

 

6- “Are quadruped exercises safe?”

Mind your form during the quadruped exercises (see picture). Always keep your butt slightly behind your knees so your belly can’t drop too low and your back can’t curve too much.

All fours - Pregnancy exercises third trimester

All fours - Pregnancy exercises third trimester

Without adequate abdominal support you increase your chances of damaging your linea alba, pelvic floor dysfunction, and back pain, especially when talking third trimester exercise!

If you have wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome, use yoga blocks or lower yourself onto your forearms. You can also grab dumbbells on the floor to change the wrist position when on all fours.

When respecting these few rules, the quadruped position is a great place to practice pelvic tilt exercise during pregnancy.

 

7- “Is cardio still ok? Can I run?”

Cardio - Exercise in pregnancy 3rd trimester

Cardio - Exercise in pregnancy 3rd trimester

Of course cardio is beneficial, but it's time to decrease the intensity. You've probably already noticed that you tire more easily. That’s totally normal! 

Your first trimester exercises were probably more vigorous than now, but it’s best to favor low-impact activities during the entire pregnancy, and especially when reaching the end. Power walking is a great alternative to running.

8- “How hard should I work out?”

During a third trimester workout, you won’t need to push as much to get to the same workout level as in the previous trimesters. Use the talk test (you should never be so out of breath that you aren't able to talk in full sentences or sing while you exercise) and remember, your goal is to end each workout feeling better than when you started.

 

9- “What about squats?”

Body weight squats continue to be appropriate to the end of pregnancy unless you are at risk for preterm labor. They are awesome for showing you bum muscles some love!

Mama squat (see picture bellow) is an awesome third trimester exercise because it can help your pelvis adjust, and relax your pelvic floor. However, don’t hold this position if your baby is not in optimal birth position after 30 weeks. This pose helps baby to descend deeper down into the pelvis and if your baby is breeched, you don’t want him to descend in this position. Make sure baby turns head down before resuming your "Mama Squats".

 

10- “What exercises should I do to prepare for birth?”

Mama Squat - Squats during pregnancy third trimester

Mama Squat - Squats during pregnancy third trimester

Third trimester exercises for easy birth! You're getting closer to your due date, so remember to focus on relaxing your pelvic floor, especially if you're planning a vaginal delivery.

In addition to abdominal breathing exercises, I encourage you to make the time to practice relaxation and birth visualization on a regular basis. The ability to release your pelvic floor muscles is very important in general, but especially during the pushing stage of birth. 

Another way you can prepare your pelvic floor is by performing perineal massage in the final month of pregnancy. This can reduce the risk of tearing during delivery.


Alleviate the most common discomforts with third trimester exercise

Alleviate aches & pains - Exercise during pregnancy third trimester

Alleviate aches & pains - Exercise during pregnancy third trimester

We can't totally eliminate discomforts at this unique time because most of them are due to the nature of pregnancy.

However, it's possible to significantly diminish them and learn how to manage them.

Use your 3rd trimester workout to be pro-active during your pregnancy. Don't passively endure these aches and pains.

Little discomforts don't follow an exact schedule, but some aches and pains are experienced by most expecting mamas during specific trimesters.

3rd trimester most common discomforts include:

  • Low back pain, including sciatica, due to the baby weight and postural changes

  • Upper back pain due to postural changes and growing breasts

  • Girdle pain due to the position of the baby and hormones

  • Intercostal pain and heartburn due to less space in the abdomen

  • Shortness of breath due to the increased pressure of the uterus on the diaphragm. Also, you’ve added some significant additional weight and your baby challenges your body a bit more. 

  • Constipation due to growing baby

  • Poor blood circulation (heavy legs, varicose veins, hemorrhoids,...)

  • Sleep issues...

To learn how to ease these discomforts - Start your Pregnancy Workout Routine & Wellness Plan today!


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