I’m a certified health and nutrition coach with an obsession for croissants and muffins and a passion for helping Brides-to-be, MOBs, and Bridesmaids feel beautiful and confident on the special day they're a part of.
Ah, the third trimester of pregnancy—you’re heading into the home stretch. Woohoo! During months seven through nine, you’ll notice some drastic changes in your body, most notably that your belly is the size of a watermelon! During the third trimester, you’re heavier, not as flexible, and probably dealing with some heartburn. Oh, and you might feel like you always have to pee.
However, just because you don’t feel quite as energetic and agile doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising. In fact, continuing to exercise through these awkward and sometimes uncomfortable months can play a significant role in reducing aches and pains and prepping your body for labor.
So, what should you do—and what should you avoid?
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Supportive exercises for your third trimester
Generally speaking, you can continue to engage in low-impact, moderate-intensity exercises as long as you have your doctor’s approval and feel well. Good low-impact exercises to include are walking, swimming, indoor cycling, yoga, and using light hand weights. These exercises will help to increase blood flow and boost feel-good endorphins.
There are also some specific exercises you can do to prep your body for the grand finale—the birth of your beautiful baby. These simple exercises will work to open your hips and pelvis and strengthen the muscles you’ll be using during childbirth.
Do some kegels
The word “kegel” might sound kind of silly, but these pelvic floor strengthening exercises are great to include during your third trimester. Having a strong pelvic floor better supports your uterus, bladder, and bowels, and may help reduce symptoms such as hemorrhoids and urinary incontinence.
To do this exercise simply tense the muscles around your vagina and anus and hold for ten seconds (as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine). Then slowly release. Aim for three sets of 20 daily.
Get some squats in
Squats are beneficial during all trimesters of pregnancy, but especially during your third trimester. Why? Regularly doing squats preps your body for an easier, faster delivery because they increase the pelvic opening, allowing more room for your baby to drop down. Aim for three sets of ten daily. You can add light weights if you’d like, but you probably don’t need them—your growing baby bump is a built-in dumbbell!
Engage your core
Your core is much more than just the rectus abdominus (aka six-pack ab muscles). An especially important group of abdominal muscles to strengthen during your third trimester are your transverse abdominals, which are your deep abdominal muscles located underneath your six-pack muscles. These muscles help you properly carry your baby while avoiding symptoms like low back pain.
Targeting these muscles couldn’t be any easier. You can do this exercise from a cross-legged position or seated in a chair. Inhale and push your belly out, allowing it to expand. Then exhale and pull your belly in and under, feeling your core tighten right around your hip bones. Hold it there for four seconds and then slowly release. Aim for two sets of five daily.
Listen to your body
As with your first and second trimester, continue to work with your doctor, listen to your body, stay hydrated, eat well, and don’t push yourself too hard. Avoid laying on your back for more than a few minutes, high-intensity workouts, exercises with a risk of falling, and sharp movements.
You’re almost there, mama! Keep up the great work!
Stephanie began her fitness journey of training women in 2014 as a yoga teacher. As a certified personal trainer and certified health coach, she has since grown her bridal fitness programs for women internationally. Stephanie works with brides and helps them look and feel their best for their big day. Her programs are accessible through her app, from fitness to nutrition, all for brides-to-be! Ready to feel confident in your wedding dress? Get the free Bridal Arms Mini Guide!
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