*This is a follow up post in a series about pre/postnatal exercise. To learn more about my previous post on exercising in the second trimester follow this link. As always, consult your OB or Midwife before beginning any exercise program.*
You're in the homestretch of your pregnancy! The third trimester lasts from 28-approximately 40 weeks.
Why exercise during the third trimester
Now isn't the time to stop
If you've been exercising during your pregnancy, don't give up now! It can be difficult when you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, and all the aches, pain, and extra weight seems to make exercising about as easy as climbing Mount Everest. Women who exercise during pregnancy gain on average about 7lbs. less than women who don't exercise, but here's the catch...if you stop exercising now, research shows you'll gain more weight than if you hadn't been exercising at all. So keep it up for these last few weeks, the payoffs are worth it! Go for a walk everyday, swim, take a yoga class, show up to one of our prenatal dance classes; there are lots of ways to keep moving! Choose something that works for you and stick with it.
Gear up for labor
Exercising all the way up until the day of your baby's birth will help you to keep up your stamina and endurance for the big day. You'll have more energy, and you'll need it during those hours(maybe days) of early labor, all the way up until you are pushing your baby out into the world, and into your arms! Exercising now even when it's hard is a great trial run for labor! The tools you use to keep you going throughout your daily exercise will come in handy during labor and birth.
Special Considerations for exercising during the Third Trimester
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that can develop during pregnancy, and usually occurs after the 20 week mark. It can lead to a very serious condition called eclampsia, which is life threatening if it goes unnoticed. Pre-eclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in your urine. If you notice an unusual or alarming amount of swelling, or experience headaches, nausea, or vomiting, contact your care provider immediately.
Relieve aches and pains
If you are experiencing discomfort from common pregnancy ailments such as pubic symphysis, sciatica, or carpal tunnel, try adding water aerobics to your exercise regimen. The buoyancy of the water can provide just the relief your body needs, and may help to reduce those unwanted side effects of pregnancy.
Even though it sometimes feels like an eternity, the third trimester will soon be over, and you'll be moving on to the challenges and joys of caring for a newborn. Stay tuned for our final post on Exercising During Pregnancy: The Fourth Trimester, and we'll discuss exercise during the postpartum period!
Callie Corless is a Birth Doula and Prenatal Fitness Instructor in the Dallas - Fort Worth Area.