Exercising during your pregnancy might be the last thing you’re thinking and that can stretch right from the get-go when you find out you're pregnant up until the day you’re about to pop.
However, it’s quite important to try and stay active throughout your pregnancy, it will help ease the discomforts of growing a child inside of you and also give you a little boost of endorphins that you may be needing as you near the end of your pregnancy.
As long as you feel comfortable and well, you can continue exercising right up until the day you give birth to your baby, however, before trying anything we recommend in this article double-check with your doctor or midwife that’ll be safe for you to do them as some pregnancies can differ from one another.
Why should I exercise during my third trimester?
Exercising will improve your cardiovascular fitness, which is not just applicable for pregnancy, but it will benefit you after your pregnancy as well. It can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and also pregnancy-related diabetes.
Exercising during your third trimester will boost your stamina, tone your muscles more, and prepare your body for childbirth, it may even help quicken the recovery process after you’ve given birth.
Despite feeling unmotivated, the size of a house, and you can’t walk up the stairs without being breathless, exercise can relieve pregnancy discomforts.
Even the most gentle exercise can relieve backache, constipation, and bloating. Exercising will promote blood circulation as well, which may help reduce the pain and swelling of your feet and legs.
We know that sleeping can be a pain especially when you’re late into pregnancy, however, some light daily exercise can improve your quality of sleep and it can also give you more energy throughout the day.
So whilst exercising may seem like a chore to begin with, you’ll gradually find it gets a bit easier and you’ll feel like doing a little bit more than normal throughout your day.
Another great positive of exercising during your third trimester is that it can really boost your mood and your spirits. Exercising can release endorphins which will help you feel a little more optimistic and also reduce the stress that you may be feeling knowing that your due date is fast approaching.
It’s not just the exercise that can boost your mood however, if you were to go to a pregnancy exercise class, you would meet and socialize with people who are in the same position as you at the moment.
We understand that pregnancy can sometimes feel a little isolating, you can’t do the things you used to do and you don’t always get the invite to certain celebrations anymore, all just because you're pregnant.
Being able to socialize with people who can relate to what you’re going through will help keep your spirits high and you never know, you may gain some friends for life.
Every woman will certainly put on weight throughout their pregnancy and it’s not because you’re eating too much or you are unfit, it’s because your body is preparing itself to feed and grow your baby during and after your child has been born.
If you are conscious about avoiding excessive weight gain, then light exercise every day can help keep your weight down and your muscles toned.
What sort of exercise should I do?
You should focus on trying to do low-impact activities throughout your third trimester, such as walking or even swimming.
If you were not active before your pregnancy you should try going for a 10-minute walk every day and then start to build up your time until you’re walking 30 minutes a day.
You should invest in a pair of good comfortable trainers or walking shoes to help ease the pain of your feet.
If you haven’t got the time to dedicate to a walk every day, just try to boost your daily activity even if it means walking to the shop instead of driving or trying to tackle the housework.
Attending a prenatal yoga class can be very beneficial during your pregnancy and especially in your third trimester. Prenatal yoga is such a good de-stressor and can help improve your flexibility and your endurance of muscles ready for childbirth.
The instructors are trained to know what is safe and what is unsafe for you to be doing, but let them know that you’re in your third trimester before the class begins so they will be able to modify certain moves for you.
If you were a fan of cycling then you can always switch to stationary biking in the gym or in your home, it’s low impact on your body and will be safer as you will not risk falling off the bike.
What exercise should I avoid?
Some of these may seem obvious, but others you may not have even considered to be unsafe to do whilst in your third trimester.
You should avoid contact sports at all costs during your entire pregnancy, you do not want to risk getting hit in the stomach or falling onto your stomach and possibly harming the baby.
Do not participate in sports or exercise that increase your risk of falling, this would include stuff like gymnastics, horseback riding, winter sports or even just riding a bike. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to the joints and muscles loosening can cause you to become less stable.
The added pregnancy weight and your growing bump can cause you to lose your sense of balance as your center of gravity will gradually shift from what it normally is.
Women should avoid exercising on hot humid days, even if it is for a light walk, it is very dangerous for a pregnant woman to overheat and faint as she could fall on her bump. Pregnant women should also avoid hot yoga, hot tubs, and steam rooms.
You may have already been told to avoid sleeping on your back and it is the same rule when it comes to exercising. You should avoid exercise that involves lying on your back such as certain yoga poses and core exercises. Lying on your back can increase the risk of reducing blood flow to your baby.
You should avoid using heavy weights during your third trimester and focus on bodyweight exercises that are safe, such as light squats. If you’re unsure about what weights you should be lifting or what exercises you should be doing during your third trimester then you could consider getting a personal trainer as some are professionally trained in pregnancy exercising.
Take care and good luck!
Remember, pregnancy is hard and no one is going to judge if you don’t feel like exercising throughout your entire pregnancy, focus on yourself, your baby, and just try and relax.
After all, you won’t have much time to yourself once the baby is born.