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Third Trimester Exercise

Meeting your baby is right around the corner! Usually you enter your third trimester with a good amount of energy. But as your baby grows from the size of a large eggplant to a small watermelon, you will start to feel more tired. And you will probably start feeling some new aches and pains.

Exercise can help with energy, back pain, and swelling!  You will want to adapt your exercise routine to third trimester exercises specific to your growing bump and changing center of gravity.

Relaxin, the hormone that allows your pelvis and rib cage to expand to fit your growing baby, also creates loose joints, as well as instability. The loose joints allow for more flexibility, but they also may harbor an environment for injury if you are not careful. You might also discover that all the postural changes that accompany pregnancy are probably altering your sense of balance. As your belly grows, you may find yourself tending to “waddle” as you walk. This is because your gait (the way you move) is changing to adapt to the extra 20-35 pounds of pregnancy-related weight gain.

How to Adapt Your Workout in Third Trimester

But even with all of these changes, you do not need to decrease intensity of exercise during the third trimester if you worked out through entire pregnancy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that those things that were easy in your second trimester might not be in your third trimester. You probably no longer need to life heavy weights to do lower body exercises, since you are carrying your own “weight” in your belly!

Another thing to keep in mind is that exercise during late-pregnancy may not be very comfortable. Hence, listening to your body and your doctor is now more essential than ever. Remember the pregnancy exercise dos and don’ts. Don’t get overtired and don’t continue if you feel a lack of coordination or discomfort. Don’t forget adequate fluid and rest. Don’t forget a thorough warm up and cool down. Keep you and your baby safe during the third trimester by following our Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines and get the OK from your doctor and/or midwife.

Core exercises should look different in your third trimester. These should be functional exercises, not your “traditional” ab exercises, with a focus on the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor. After about 24 weeks most women can perform exercises on their back for short periods of time. Find these core exercises in our pregnancy workouts. Or download our Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Guide for all of your third trimester exercise guidelines.

Sometimes twisting can throw off your center of gravity or put extra pressure on the belly tissues. Therefore you should stabilize the core in twisting motions. You might have heard you should eliminate all torso twisting.  But we don’t go through our days without twisting and our exercise should mimic our body’s biomechanics, this is known as functional exercise. If you have diastasis recti twisting should be kept to a minimum.

Overall, a program with strength training, aerobic exercise and stretching is ideal for pregnancy.  Don’t overdo it. You might feel frustrated by some of the limitations that pregnancy places on your agility. For example, weight gain and laxity in ligaments and joints reduce your running speed. The weight in pregnancy increases the force on your hips and knees.  Workouts like running and jumping might not be comfortable. And you will want to adapt. Follow our pregnancy workouts for all of these adaptations.


Common Pregnancy Conditions

Diastasis Recti — An abdominal separation, otherwise known as diastasis recti, occurs in about 1/3 to 2/3 of pregnancies.  Usually this condition occurs later in pregnancy as your baby grows, or if you are carrying multiples. It’s important you don’t do traditional core exercises during pregnancy, but do core work for your transverse abs. We do this in our Pregnancy Core Workouts.

Back Pain — 50 – 60 percent of pregnant women will experience low back pain due to the growing belly.  Many pregnant women have lumbar lordosis, otherwise known as swayback. As you move into the second and third trimesters, strength training  for the abdominals and back is important — all research recommends it! Stretching is equally as important for your body’s mobility.

Pelvic Pain —  Pubic pain or pelvic pain, is common later in pregnancy. It can hinder the way you walk and exercise. It is important that you know the difference between the pelvic pain, pressure, and dysfunction. To keep your pelvic floor strong use these pelvic floor exercises from our DPT and pelvic floor specialist.

Download the Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Guide

Smart fitness for moms in any stage: bump, new baby, and beyond.