You are in the last and third trimester of pregnancy that lasts from week 27 to week 40. This stage of pregnancy brings a blend of excitement and concern as you prepare and near the birthing time. However, this time comes with its own physical, mental and emotional challenges. So, it becomes even more important to be active and carry out third trimester exercises during pregnancy. For a healthy pregnancy, labour and delivery, you must continue to work out in the final stretch of pregnancy. Do not be overwhelmed by the concerns and beat the stress with regular exercising during the third trimester of pregnancy. Read on to know what are the exercises that can alleviate the aches and anxieties of the last three months of pregnancy and what are the guidelines to be followed for a safe labour and delivery.
What Are the Benefits of Third Trimester Exercises During Pregnancy?Fitness regime in the final trimester is an excellent way to get rid of some of the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. However, do not overstretch yourself and listen to your body. Your fitness regime not only improves overall fitness but also reduces the chances of C-section and preeclampsia. Here is a list of some of the benefits of exercising during third trimester:
- Decreases fatigue
- Reduces backache
- Improves body posture
- Improves sleep
- Reduces swelling
- Maintains healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves mood
- Maintains healthy blood pressure
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Builds stamina for labour and delivery
What Are the Different Exercises for Pregnancy Third Trimester?Follow the fitness routine you picked up in the first and second trimesters and train for around 20-30 minutes a day for safe and healthy delivery. The goal of working out in the final trimester is to improve your fitness and stamina without any risk to the mother and baby. If you did not follow any fitness regime in the first two trimesters, pick one from the following exercises for pregnancy third trimester:
WalkingWalking is one of the safest and low-impact exercises to do in the final trimester of pregnancy. Wear comfortable shoes and walk on flat and even surfaces. Avoid tracks or paths that are rocky and uneven. Move your arms while walking to strengthen your upper body and arms. It also improves your cardiovascular health. If you are experiencing pain in your lower back or pelvic area, wear a supporting brace. If the back pain is severe, see your doctor. Walk for up to 30 minutes a day. Slow down your pace in case of any discomfort or aches.
JoggingContinue jogging if you were doing so in the first 6 months of pregnancy. However, most of the expecting mums cut down their pace and time in the third trimester. Jog slowly on a flat track at a comfortable pace. Do not push your limits. Listen to and respect your body limits. You can jog for around 20-30 minutes a day for 3 days a week.
YogaYou can continue practising yoga in the final stage of gestation as well. Yoga helps you focus on your breathing and centring your mind. The different poses of yoga also help your body become more flexible and stretch, which aids in safe labour, delivery and birth results. Yoga also helps you in strengthening your muscles, reducing pelvic pain and lowering the risk of stress and depression. Follow all the safety measures while practising yoga and avoid backbends, abdomen twists, hot yoga, headstands and other poses that involve lying on your back. Continue a session of 30 minutes every day for 5 days a week.
SwimmingSwimming is a low-impact exercise that strengthens your core muscles, improves heart health and reduces swelling on your feet, legs, arms and hands. When you are in the water, you can swim with less stress on your joints and ligaments and less discomfort. Swim or enjoy other water aerobics for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
CyclingRide a stationary bike as one of the third trimester exercises during pregnancy. A big baby bump changes the centre of your gravity. So, ride a stationary bike for safety and improve your muscle strength and reduce any stress and pain on your lower back. You can ride the cycle for 30 minutes a day for 5 days/week.
PilatesGo for the specifically designed Pilates classes for pregnant women. As the baby grows, your core muscles weaken and result in back pain. In this condition, low-impact Pilates build your core muscles, transversus abdominis and abdominal muscles. This improves your body posture and will be useful while pushing the baby out. Be careful and avoid lying on your back, doing abdominal twists and other risky moves. One session a week of about 30 minutes is enough.
Muscle ToningIt can be dangerous to lift weights during the final months of your gestation period. So, you can do:
- Arm lifts
- Bicep and triceps curls
- Lift light-weight dumbbells
- Wall pushups
- Leg lifts and other low-impact muscle toning exercises for pregnancy in third trimester
- Jumping, hopping, spinning and twisting
- Heavy weightlifting
- Rigorous workout
- Lying on your back for too long
- Holding your breath for too long
- Hot yoga
- Horse riding
- Cricket, boxing, football, basketball and other such sports that have a high probability of bumping into other players and getting hit in the abdomen
- Water surfing, scuba diving, skiing or water skiing
When to Stop Exercises for Pregnancy in Third TrimesterAt this critical phase, you need to look for the below warning signs and immediate stop working out if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Giddiness or light-headedness
- Vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Painful uterus contractions
- Weakness in muscles or swelling on calf/feet
- Feeling hot and any other symptoms
Precautions While Exercising During PregnancyThe American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests some of the precautions for expecting mothers while exercising:
- You need to wear comfortable clothes and shoes while exercising.
- You need to keep yourself hydrated during the work out session.
- Take rest in between 2 sets if required.
- Make sure you work out at room temperature and not in hot or humid settings.
- You must avoid standing still for a long time because it may result in blood accumulation in your legs and feet and lower your blood pressure.
- You must avoid lying down on your back for extended periods because the uterus may press the vein that carries blood to the heart and lowers blood pressure.