At 37 weeks pregnant I’ve reached the “I’m over being pregnant” zone. It’s getting much harder to move, breathe, get up from the ground, chase after our very active 2-year-old, and reach my toes. But, even with the physical challenges that come with a growing bump I’ve found that movement feels great.
Whether it’s strength training, a Peloton cycling class, yoga, barre, or just taking my dog for a (slow) walk, movement is keeping me sane, especially during COVID. But, is it safe to continue exercising while very very pregnant?
Exercising in your Third Trimester
What do you do at the end of your pregnancy? How long can you continue moving? The truth is…it depends. Although I’d love to give a clear answer, everyBODY and pregnancy is so different, as well as mom-to-be’s interests. In truth, as long as it feels good and you are not experiencing any symptoms/contraindications (and your doctor has given you approval to do so), movement MAY feel great.
Training late in your pregnant isn’t that much different, but there are a few considerations to consider:
1. Keeping the body happy/minimize discomfort: Keeping the hips and low back as happy as possible. How this translates in training: glute work (bands are helpful here), breath work, and mobility.
A few of my favorite exercises include:
- Bodyweight or banded hip thrust
- Lateral Band Walks
- Bodyweight / Banded Squats
- Suitcase Deadlifts
- Side lying leg raises and clamshells
- Cat/Cow and Puppy Pose
- Hip Circles, Pelvic Tilts, and Bouncing on a Stability Ball
- Diaphragmatic Breathing (read more on breath strategies here)
2. Consider body position, equipment, and the flow of movement: Mix up body positions for different movements. Try standing, seated, side lying, kneeling, etc. What feels good for you? Also, consider the flow. Moving from a squat to a glute bridge may seem like a good idea, but this may be very challenging for a pregnant client.
3. Decrease the load: Our bodies are already under additional load, particularly our pelvic floor. This doesn’t mean we can’t use dumbbells in training, but we should do so mindfully. I’ve decreased my weight throughout pregnancy, particularly now with an added 25 pounds on my body.
4. Check in with yourself: This isn’t the time to set any records or go full on “beast mode.” Listen to what your body needs. Who wants to be crazy sore heading into labor? Not me. Also – what do you actually enjoy doing? Do more of that!
5. Duration: Workouts are shorter, with a big emphasis on stretching and relaxation/lengthening. Mindset shift: Intensity to Connection and prepping the body for birth. This tip also emphasizes saving your energy! Workouts should give you more energy versus drain you.
6. Open and Relax: Opening the pelvis, relaxing the pelvic floor, and practicing different labor positions, like a deep squat. One of my favorite exercises is a supported deep squat hold, utilizing a yoga block or TRX strap for support.
7. Mimic Motherhood movements: Think about all the things we do as new moms. Becoming stronger and more efficient in these patterns will help set you up for success postpartum.
- Holding your baby on one side of the body (unilateral loading)
- Holding a kiddo out in front (front loaded exercises)
- Leaning over a crib (hinging)
- Standing up from the ground (level changes)
- Picking up a car seat (Carries)
Questions about training during pregnancy? Drop them below or contact me today 🙂
Feel good mama.
**Please note: The above does not take the place of medical advice. Please always consult your doctor before starting (or continuing) a new exercise program. You can also reference ACOG for the latest recommendations.