Third Trimester Pregnancy Exercises to Prepare You for Labor, Birth, and Beyond!

Exercising during a healthy and normal pregnancy is not only safe, but recommended, so stay active during your pregnancy, with your doctor’s approval of course!

The benefits of prenatal exercise are endless.  Prenatal exercise helps: improve mood, posture and sleep, alleviates back and sciatic pain, promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance, assists in the prevention of diastasis recti and urinary incontinence helps reduce cramping and swelling, and helps ensure safe and healthy pregnancies, labors, births and postnatal recoveries! 

In your first and second trimesters of pregnancy, continue doing whatever exercises you were doing before you got pregnant, but listen to your body and slow down if it’s telling you to. 

Third trimester training is a bit trickier.  Keep moving, but be mindful of these precautions:

1.   Refrain from exercising on your back (supine position), since the weight of your enlarged uterus may compress a major blood vessel called the Vena Cava, obstructing blood flow to your heart and baby. 

2.   Avoid exercising laying on your belly for the obvious reason that it compresses your belly and is uncomfortable.

3.   Take a break from full sit-ups and limit crunches during the 3rd trimester.  Perform abdominal planks (modify if needed on knees/thighs), and Kegels to activate the deep core transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles instead!  Kegels and planks help prevent diastasis recti too!

4.   Avoid exercises that require quick changes in direction like lateral jumps, since you may lose your balance and fall.

5.   Exercise in cooler temperatures to avoid heat stress and dehydration, and drink plenty of water!

6.   When doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises, keep movements controlled, core activated, and slow down or stop if you feel dizzy or short of breath.

7.   Avoid jumping, bouncing, or other high impact movements that may cause you to fall or overstretch (“pull”) muscles or ligaments.

8.    Be careful not to overstretch connective tissues when stretching.  When you are pregnant, a hormone called relaxin is released, that loosens ligaments, particularly in the pelvic region to facilitate growth of the baby and delivery.  Listen to your body and keep movements controlled and fluid.  If something hurts, stop! 

Now go try some of my 3rd trimester exercises!  After you’ve learned how to activate and engage your deep abdominal core – the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles, try some exercises!  The goal is to choose 5-6 exercises 3 to 5 days per week, and perform 8-15 repetitions of each exercise.  Vary the exercises every time you work out for best results!

Keep your core engaged during all the exercises!  A strong core benefits you in virtually any kind of movement and physical activity, including carrying, lifting and playing with baby, housework, gardening, etc.  When your core is strong, your whole body will thank you!

Pregnancy is physically demanding no matter how fit you, so please be mindful of your body and how it feels as you perform these exercises.  Stop and rest if you feel short of breath, dizzy or over-heated.  Drink plenty of water, rest, Kegel often, eat a nutritious diet, and perform 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity 3-5 days per week, such as: walking, swimming or stationary cycling, and you’ll look and feel great!  Blessings for a healthy and comfortable pregnancy, labor and birth!