Creating a Pregnancy Exercise Plan for a Healthy Third Trimester
A fit, healthy mother equals a happy, healthy baby. By keeping active throughout your pregnancy, you do your baby huge favors. But what exercise is safe during pregnancy trimester three? And, how do you find the energy for a workout when rolling over in bed is exhausting? Check out our guide to third-trimester exercises which are safe and beneficial. Please note that this advice applies to a “normal pregnancy” and exercising does not completely rule out the chance of pregnancy complications for you or your baby.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy For Mother:
- Improved mood – less strength and anxiety.
- Better sleep.
- Stronger joints and less chance of injury.
- A 37% less chance of developing gestational diabetes.
- A stronger body with better stamina for labor and delivery (it’s hard work!).
- Less unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy, and an easier time losing weight after Baby arrives.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy For Baby:
- Less stress on the baby during delivery – less chance of a C-section or forceps delivery.
- A healthier heart – when you’re heart is woking hard, your baby’s heart will too.
- There may be less chance of being overweight or developing diabetes later in life.
Avoiding strenuous exercise during pregnancy trimester three:
You’re carrying a whole lot of extra weight and coping with all sorts of pregnancy symptoms besides. Be gentle on yourself. Before you get started on designing a tailor-made pregnancy exercise routine, there are a few safety tips you should note:
- Some doctors recommend that the pregnancy exercise heart rate should be around 140 beats per minute. You can use this as a rough guide although, these days, most experts say that your breathing is a better measure of whether the exercise is too strenuous for pregnancy. You shouldn’t let yourself get breathless while exercising – your baby needs the oxygen. A good way to check that you’re not overdoing it is to make sure you can carry out a conversation or sing along to your iPod.
- Make breathing a central part of any exercises you do – controlling your breath and using it to gain strength and stamina will be a huge help to you when you go into labor.
- Make sure you’re giving the body the sustenance it needs – eat plenty of healthy, high-energy snacks and take sips of your water bottle all the time.
- If you’re heading out walking or jogging in the eighth month of pregnancy, take a friend or your partner with you. If you end up going into labor halfway round the park, there’ll be someone there to help.
A Pregnancy Exercise Routine for the Final Trimester:
Safe exercises for late pregnancy can be divided into three categories – cardiovascular, stretching, and strength work. Below are some safe, and beneficial, examples from each category so you can design a pregnancy exercise plan that works for you. Aim to do twenty or thirty minutes of cardio each day and ten minutes of either stretching or strength. I like to exercise five days a week and have two rest days spaced evenly between.
Cardiovascular Exercises for Pregnancy
Keeping your heart pumping healthily is really important for both you and your baby. After all, your blood volume has almost doubled to provide for your baby.
Try and do twenty to thirty minutes of cardio exercise for pregnancy three to five times a week.
Choose from the following:
|Exercise:||How to do it Safely:||Why it's Good:|
|Walking||Try and time your walks so that you're not out in the heat of the day - the last thing you want is to overheat. Don't allow yourself to get breathless - you should always be able to talk or sing. In the final weeks of your pregnancy, always take someone with you.||As well as maintaining your fitness and keeping your heart working healthily, it helps to relax you, cures pregnancy insomnia, and strengthens your body for delivery.|
|Jogging||Jogging is only really recommended |
if you are a regular runner and have kept up a high level of activity earlier in pregnancy. Take the same precautions suggested for walking.
|If you're a runner, keeping it up will help prevent your body from going into shock at a sudden stop and make it easier to get back into exercise after pregnancy.|
|Swimming||Take it gently and make sure your breathing is even. There's no need to try and swim 20 laps of freestyle. A gentler stroke like breaststroke is best.||Taking the weight off your tired joints and muscles feels heavenly. Swimming is a low impact cardio exercise which packs a whole lot of punch.|
|Aqua Aerobics or Aqua Walking||If keeping yourself afloat for swimming proves difficult, aqua walking (stationary or lengths) is a great substitute. Or, you could join an aqua aerobics class at your local pool.||It's great in all the same ways swimming is, especially if you're pregnant through the summer months!|
|Dancing||Throw on your favorite tunes and dance around the house, or join a Zumba class. Just like the other cardio exercises for pregnancy, listen to your body and don't overdo it.||You get your heart pumping without even realizing it because you're having fun.|
Join a specialized pregnancy yoga class or try out a yoga DVD.
It's pretty much the perfect combination of cardio, stretching, and strength.
Strength and Stretch Exercises for Pregnancy
Strenuous free weights or gym machines can be dangerous in late pregnancy. But you can use your own body weight to do lots of beneficial strength and resistance training. When it comes to stretching and strength, the Swiss ball is your friend. It takes the impact off your bones and joints and allows you to stretch in comfort. It’s also really great for sitting on while you work at your desk, and the stretches can help relieve late pregnancy cramping.
Try ten minutes of these exercises a couple of times a week:
|Exercise:||How to do it Safely:||Why it's Good:|
|Kegel Exercises |
Sit comfortably on the ball with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Relax your body and rest your arms on your thighs.
Contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 5 seconds.
Rest for five seconds and repeat.
These exercises help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and will make labor and delivery easier when the time comes.
|Swiss Ball Wall Squats|
Stand near to a wall and position the ball between your back and the wall. Make sure your feet are facing forward, a shoulder width apart.
Slowly squat down, allowing the ball to roll down the wall and support you.
Return to standing position and repeat.
Targets, stretches and strengthens your buttocks, thighs and lower back - all prone to pregnancy pain and cramping.
|Swiss Ball Arm Raises|
Sit comfortably on your ball.
On an in breath, raise straight arms to shoulder height, hold as you breath out.
On the next in breath, raise arms to above the head.
Lower arms in a slow and controlled manner as you let out your breath.
As a variation, you could hold some light hand weights as you do this.
Not only do these exercises stretch and strengthen your arms, they also target your abdominal muscles.
Stand comfortably with your feet at shoulder width.
Hold the ball in front of you at chest height.
Slowly lift it above your head on a in breath.
Lower slowly as you breath out.
A great way to stretch the spine and strengthen the abdominal muscles. Perfect if you're getting pregnancy back pain.
Sample Late Pregnancy Exercise Program
Of course, we all enjoy different things and have different capabilities. Use the exercises above to create a pregnancy exercise plan that is uniquely you. Here’s a sample of a program which worked well for me:
|30 minute walk with my husband and the dog||Aqua aerobics pregnancy workout||Rest day||30 minute pregnancy yoga session at the gym||10 minutes Swiss ball stretches||20 minute walk with friends||Rest day|
|10 minutes Swiss ball stretches||10 minute Swiss ball stretches||10 minute walk||10 minutes strength work||10 minutes strength work|
Listen to Your Body when Doing Third-Trimester Exercises:
We can’t stress enough the importance of staying safe while you exercise. Staying active is good, overdoing it is not. If you’ve had any pregnancy complications, or you feel worried about how much exercise during pregnancy is safe for you, you should consult your doctor or midwife. Everyone’s situation is different and your professionals will be able to advise you about safe pregnancy exercise plans for you.
Learn More about Your Pregnancy:
Practicing yoga and meditation during pregnancy are excellent ways to strengthen core muscles and improve breathing techniques in preparation for childbirth. Check out our guide to safe, and beneficial, pregnancy yoga.
Knowing what to expect helps to take the anxiousness and fear out of the labor process. We give you the low-down, without too much doctor-speak.
Why not use those rest days to start reading up on parenting styles, tips, and techniques? We recommend five of the best books from the experts on parenting.