Third Trimester Exercise: Everything you need to know
This is it, the end is in sight. Your bump is probably feeling pretty big now and there is no longer any question about whether you are pregnant or not. Hopefully lots of people are kindly standing up for you on the buses and trains.
If you are still exercising then that's great news. And if you can continue to keep active until the end you’ll thank yourself. Staying active throughout the final trimester of pregnancy not only keeps your mind busy as your work life starts to slow down, it also keeps gives you some additional focus alongside the looming birth, that will no doubt be on your mind more and more.
All in all, It is a good idea to keep your life as normal as possible for as long as you can.
FOCUS ON STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY
Continue to work on keeping your strength up, especially around the middle of your body. Focusing on your core, glutes, upper back and all the postural muscles is key.
Pilates and yoga can be a really nice thing to do in your third trimester to lengthen your muscles and stretch for a prolonged period of time. With all the changes going on in your body, it is no wonder that you will start to feel tight, so setting aside some time each week to stretch is a great idea.
NO MORE RUNNING
It is unlikely that you will feel like running in your third trimester and I would nearly always advise against it due to the large impact it has on your now softened joints, not to mention the added weight of your bump too. Your hips and pelvis probably won’t thank you for it.
GOT PELVIC PAIN?
Some of you will be struggling to continue exercising in the way you want to for various reasons - exhaustion, swollen feet, and most commonly pelvic girdle pain. This is the umbrella term for any pain in the pelvic area. Often the exact cause of this is hard to tell, but it is likely to be a combination of factors such as the pelvic joints moving unevenly, a change in the activity of the muscles in the pelvic, hip, abdomen, back and pelvic floor. If you have suffered any pelvic trauma in the past then this could also be a reason why it is aggravated throughout pregnancy.
If this is you then don’t panic, there are some things you can do to try and improve your symptoms. There are activities that you do every single day that you may not even think about, but with small tweaks they may not cause you so much pain.
- Try to avoid each side of your pelvis moving in opposite directions, for example stretching your legs very far apart from each other, which can often happen when you are getting out of bed or the car. Instead separate your legs in small increments or hold onto something or someone to help take the pressure off your pelvis.
- Be careful also of any movements that cause the two sides of the pelvis moving against each other. So standing on one leg or taking 2 steps at a time is best avoided. Similarly terms of exercise, this is the time to avoid lunges or single leg exercises. You can start by taking the weight off, so try holding onto a TRX to see if that helps before eliminating them all together, and make sure to keep your pelvis in a neutral position as much as you can in all other areas of exercise.
Now is the time to get as much rest as you can. You will probably notice your body telling you when you have overdone it, so listen to that and don’t be afraid to have a cheeky nap if you get the chance to.
You may start to hold onto more water than usual and notice your feet and ankles swelling up at the end of the day, but this is totally normal and is due to the excess blood and fluid in your body. You may notice it mostly after a long day standing up, so get your feet up in the evenings as much as possible. It’s a great excuse to read your favourite mag and take some time out!
As with everything else in pregnancy, everyone is different so don’t beat yourself up if you’re finding it tricky to keep up your usual exercise plans. It won’t last forever! If you’re struggling to stick to your plan, then just see if you can add small, manageable bouts of activity into your day, such as walking to the shops instead of driving. You do what works for you. Likewise if that means still lifting weights and feeling strong then that is great and I encourage it, as long as it still feels good for you!