Are you in your third trimester of pregnancy? This is a time when you need to be especially careful as you near the end of your pregnancy. Pregnant women are prone to many complications like low or high blood pressure, gestational diabetes mellitus, and premature labor during this period due to the hormonal changes that take place in their bodies. That’s why during pregnancy, it is important to exercise regularly as it helps you reduce stress levels and keeps you healthy and active even during pregnancy.
Generally, to improve a pregnancy outcome and reduce complications of pregnancy, women are advised to exercise throughout their pregnancy. However, there is a small misunderstanding among them that exercising during the third trimester of pregnancy may endanger them or cause complications in labor. But doing certain exercises can not only keep you fit but also help ease childbirth.
Though doing a regular exercise routine is important during your third trimester. Exercises helps keep you active and prevent the complications that may arise as a result of inactivity or lack of physical activity. For obese pregnant women who find it difficult to perform their regular activities, exercises like swimming and walking help them keep fit. In this blog, we’ll talk about exercises that can be done during your third trimester of pregnancy.
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Best in pregnancy third trimester exercises
Although in third-trimester pregnancy, doing high-intensity exercise can be dangerous, doing low-intensity exercises is still safe and beneficial. Moderate exercise is beneficial for muscle and bone strength and circulation and can help relieve fatigue and give you more energy. To improve pregnancy outcome, it’s best to do exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscles, especially if you’re at risk of preterm labor. Below we have listed the best exercises for the third trimester of pregnancy and they are:
1. Pelvic floor exercises
In third-trimester pregnancy, pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen your muscles and keep you from leaking urine accidentally. Pelvic floor muscles play a large role in the body’s core, this is also called kegel exercises. When they are weak, it can cause pelvic or back pain and problems during pregnancy and childbirth. Generally, pelvic muscles should be exercised in the early pregnancy and continue during late pregnancy. This exercise in the third trimester can make your pelvic muscles stronger and better support the uterus, bladder, and other organs. For doing pelvic floor exercises, follow these steps:
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and feet on the floor. This exercise can be done at any time during the day.
- Tighten your pelvic muscles as if you were stopping your stream of urine, and hold for five seconds.
- Relax completely and repeat 10 times.
However, the randomized clinical trial did not prove that doing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy can reduce incontinence. In fact, in a first and second trimester, doing pelvic floor exercises can increase urine leakage. If you find that exercising your pelvic floor muscles is causing more leaking, stop the exercise and speak to your doctor about other ways to strengthen this area.
It’s an awesome exercise for the tone of your thighs, hips, and buttocks. Doing squats in late pregnancy is good for you because it will help to stretch the muscles that are supporting your uterus. It can reduce back or chest pain too. You can do this exercise anytime during the day when it’s convenient for you, but make sure you don’t have to go right back to work or do other activities immediately after. To do squats, follow these steps:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing straight ahead. Keep your arms out in front of you for balance if needed.
- Slowly shift your weight back into your heels as you bend the knees until they are at about a 90-degree angle.
- Make sure your back stays straight and you don’t bend at the waist.
- Keep your weight on your heels as you press up through them to a standing position, squeezing the glutes as you lift.
- Lower yourself back down to starting position by bending at the knees again, keeping the weight on your heels.
- Do this exercise daily.
Furthermore, squats with light weights can strengthen your muscle tone, improve balance and coordination, and increase the strength of the muscles in your back, legs, and hips. To do squats with weights or machines that are available for this purpose in gyms or fitness studios, you will need to learn how to execute each squat properly with good form.
3. Walking and stair climbing
It’s an ideal exercise to do during the last month of pregnancy. This activity is really good for you because it builds strength and endurance in your legs, hips, and back. It also gives some relief from swelling of feet and ankles that are common in later pregnancy. In your gestational age, the blood flow to the pelvic region and uterus has increased. This condition makes it uncomfortable to do regular floor exercises.
So, walking will give you some good relief from this problem. It also increases the supply of oxygen-rich blood which is sent to your enlarged uterus and keeps it healthy and active. Walking and stair climbing helps to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, and blood pressure. This type of regular exercise is particularly important if you had high blood pressure before becoming pregnant. Before beginning, check with your doctor or midwife about the exercise routine that’s best for you at this late stage of pregnancy.
4. Swimming and pool exercise
These types of third-trimester exercises are also good choices for pregnant women to help them stay fit and healthy into their last few months. Swimming provides many benefits because it combines the effects of cardiovascular exercise with resistance training. As a result, it can reduce stress on your joints as you grow bigger throughout your pregnancy, stabilize your core muscles. So they do not become weaker, and tone your muscles as you gain strength, which can help enhance your body’s appearance.
In addition to this type of exercise being gentle on the mother-to-be’s body, it provides a unique opportunity for pregnant women to learn about their babies in a way that they don’t get to experience through traditional prenatal care. This is also helpful to avoid risk factors during pregnancy. However, swimming is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) only to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. This exercise in the third trimester of pregnancy is good for you because it can help to increase your energy levels, strengthen your heart and lungs, reduce water retention in the lower extremities and help you relax.
5. Prenatal Yoga
In pregnancy, yoga helps to avoid prenatal depression, improve sleep, and ease constipation. Many peer-reviewed studies show that yoga helps to manage weight gain, back pain, and hypertension. It also increases the flexibility of your body making it easier to do everyday activities such as walking and getting out of a chair. Many prenatal yoga poses can help to stretch and strengthen your muscles. But before doing that, you must talk to your healthcare provider about doing any new exercise routine before adding it to your daily activities. Prenatal poses like cat/cow, bound angel, etc. can help you to stretch tight muscles and strengthen your back.
Steps for doing cat/cow:
- Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Make sure the back is parallel to the floor and in a neutral position, not arched or rounded.
- Inhale as you drop your belly toward the floor, allowing space between each vertebra from tailbone to neck while drawing the shoulder blades down the back.
- Exhale as you pull your belly button up and inward, drawing the navel toward the spine while squeezing your buttocks.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times each time focusing on bringing more space into your lower back with every inhale and a stronger contraction in your abdomen with every exhale.
Steps for child pose:
- Kneel on the floor with your feet together and knees wide apart.
- Sit back into your heels as you stretch your arms forward, placing palms flat on the floor if possible, or resting them wherever’s comfortable.
- Relax and breathe deeply for a few breaths.
- Repeat 4-6 times daily.
Steps for side corpse pose:
- Lie on your left side with legs straight and right arm placed at a right angle from the body, palm facing down.
- Inhale deeply as you lift the upper body off the floor, sliding the right hand up the back to rest under your head while arching your body upward.
- Exhale as you lower your upper body back to the floor, again resting the right arm at a right angle from the body in a comfortable position.
- Inhale as you lift your body upward into the pose again and exhale as you release it back down.
- Repeat 4 times daily for 30 seconds each time.
Steps for Garland pose:
- Lie flat on your back, legs extended and arms resting at your sides.
- Keep your left leg straight and bend the right knee, placing the right foot beside the left hip with toes facing upward.
- Inhale deeply then exhale as you bring both knees into your chest holding them tightly with both hands across the shins or ankles.
- Inhale deeply then exhale as you lower your knees to the left side while straightening the right leg and placing it flat on the floor, relaxing for a few seconds.
- Repeat 4 to 5 times daily.
Moreover, yoga is good for the health of both the mother and her baby. As well as pregnant women should do yoga to avoid sleep disturbances, stress, and depression. This exercise during pregnancy will help you to stay flexible, fit, and strong. If your health conditions permit, you can do yoga anytime during the day when it’s convenient for you. Make sure to eat a healthy snack and drink plenty of fluids before practicing.
6. Knee Push ups
For women’s health and fitness, knee push-ups are a must and the best exercise for 3rd trimester of pregnancy. It’s one of the best abdominal workouts as well as it works your core muscles such as abdominals, hips, and back. It’s challenging to do, but it’s really good for your body during the final trimester of pregnancy. It also helps strengthen your shoulders and chest muscles. To do knee push-ups, follow these steps:
- Get down on all fours with knees right below hips and hands under shoulders. Make sure you are facing down looking at your hands.
- Keep your back in a flat position, contracting the abdominals throughout the exercise.
- Slowly lower yourself with control, bending at elbows and hips; keep elbows tucked close to sides (don’t let them flare out).
- Stop when the chest is about an inch above the floor or when upper arms are parallel to the floor (if they can go lower, great; if they can’t, that’s fine).
- Rise back to the start position by pushing off the floor with your arms and using your abs to rise until you are in a high plank position (body is straight from head to feet).
- Do this exercise daily for best results.
Additionally, doing this exercise is also a great workout for your abs, hips, and shoulders. This exercise is good for you because it will not put extra stress on the joints of the spine or pelvis. This type of at-home workouts for second pregnancy are also beneficial because they may improve your flexibility, mobility, and balance during the entire session.
7. Stationary Bike Workout
This type of workout is a perfect way to tone your thighs, hips, and glutes. It will help you prepare for childbirth because cardio workouts can prepare your body for the stress of labor. Furthermore, this biking exercise strengthens the major muscles located in the front of your thigh mainly the quadriceps muscle. To do a stationary bike workout, follow these steps:
- Sit on your bike and place your hands on the handlebars. Adjust the seat so that your legs are extended with a slight bend at the knee,
- Turn the resistance knob on low. To pedal, push first on the left pedal as you count to 4, then turn it back to its starting position as you count to 4.
- Next, turn the resistance knob on high and count to 4 as you push down hard with your right leg pedal through its full range of motion before turning it back to its starting position.
- Continue pedaling in this way for about 15 minutes.
- Do this exercise at least three times a week, or more if you have time to spare.
- After your workout, keep your knees bent and stretch them by leaning forward over the handlebars with feet flat on the floor. Lean back gently so that it feels like you are doing a hamstring stretch.
However, this exercise is helpful to avoid prenatal depression brought by hormonal changes in your body. It is also helpful to prevent cardiovascular diseases during pregnancy. If you doing this exercise incorrectly, you might feel pain or discomfort in your back and legs. So, check your form first and stop this exercise if you feel any pain.
8. Stretching and Warm-ups
During the third trimester, your body is probably achy and tired. Stretching can help to relieve some of this discomfort. In addition, it’s important to stretch before you begin any workout or exercise because stretching before physical activity helps improve flexibility, prevent injury, and increase blood flow to the muscles you’ll be using during your workout. As well as warm-ups and stretching, it’s important to be hydrated and well-nourished before you do anything strenuous.
Although make sure to eat a healthy meal about an hour before you go for a run or engage in any other physical activities. Hence, preparation is important for exercise but focus on exercising safely while pregnant. This means not pushing yourself too hard, listening to your body, and taking it easy if you experience aches or pains that are outside the normal range of pregnancy discomforts. Before doing any exercise consult your doctor because every pregnancy is different.
Doing planks is similar to doing a push-up position, but it’s more difficult. It works in all areas of your major arm groups as well as your shoulders, chest, back, buttocks, and thighs. It will increase your level of flexibility. Try starting with the modified version to perform this exercise during late pregnancy. To do a plank position:
- Start by getting into a push-up position on your hands and toes (or knees if you prefer). Keep your feet close together with your legs extended.
- Slowly contract your stomach muscles and lift your body up so that there is a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Keep the back flat throughout the entire exercise, keeping it parallel with the floor. Avoid arching or sagging at any point during the plank.
- Hold this for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release.
- Repeat this exercise daily for the best results.
Moreover, if pregnant women do these third-trimester exercises frequently they can strengthen the muscles that support their stomach. They will also tone up the abdomen, hips arms, and shoulders, improve posture, increase the flexibility of joints, and reduce back pain symptoms. It also helps to diastasis recti, the separation of abdominal muscles that are connected by a thin line of tissue running down the middle, respectively.
The Last Word
Therefore, the third trimester is an important time for your baby’s development. Doing exercises that are suitable for your stage of pregnancy will improve endurance, increase flexibility and improve posture. The above list of exercises will help keep you strong and healthy during these final weeks of pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, and always listen to your body. You’re probably feeling a little more tired and uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, continuing to exercise during your third trimester is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. As well stretching exercises can help to keep your muscles flexible and staying active during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your baby. We hope you found this article useful and if you have any other suggestions for third-trimester exercises, please comment below.