The third trimester in pregnancy is the time when the body of a woman is physically stretched and pushed the farthest. Back pain, fatigue, sleep challenges, swelling, frequent urination, round ligament pain, shortness of breath, Braxton hicks and heartburn are some of the common experiences that women face in this period. But with regular exercise, it is actually possible to alleviate discomfort along with some of the symptoms. Besides, exercising during pregnancy prepares women for labor while making delivery hassle-free. Having the muscles in the right form with exercising can also give a woman proper control during the contractions during labor.
Here is a list of exercises that can be performed during the third trimester of pregnancy:
- Squats: You can perform this exercise on your third trimester until delivery to keep yourself fit. In this exercise, the natural force of gravity is used to move the baby into the lower pelvis area while helping the area to open up. To perform this exercise, you need to grab the backside of the chair with both hands for stabilizing and then you can take the help of a floor mat for soft cushioning if required. Then stand in such a way that your feet are should width apart and keep the toes pointed a little off to the sides. Then taking the support of the chair, go down a little bending at the knees. And then bring the bottom as low as it feels comfortable to you. Hold this position for around 20 seconds and then go back to the standing position while slowly holding the chair.
- Marjaryasana or cat-cow pose: This is a gentle form of exercise to be performed in the pregnancy third trimester. With this pose, it is possible to relieve lower back pain in pregnancy. Besides, this pose also helps to orient your baby to the proper position for birth. To perform this exercise, you need to start on the knees and hands. You can use a floor mat to perform this exercise to ensure that your knees don’t get stressed. Then place your knees shoulder width apart and hands on the mat. In this posture, your head must be in the down position facing the floor. Then take a breath and while exhaling, arch the back like a cat while pulling up your belly towards the spine. Maintain the arched position for a few seconds while pulling both the hips and head for some time.
- Swimming or any other type of pool exercises: This is a great exercise to perform in the third trimester of your pregnancy. Here the buoyancy of water can lighten your body as well as can take off the stress level of the weak muscles and joints. This allows pregnant women to perform exercises that are impossible to do otherwise. But before you perform the exercise, ensure that the level of water is up to your chest to support your weight. There are mainly two types of pool exercises that you can perform:
- Scissor leg stretch- This exercise is meant for the groin muscles along with the muscles of your lower back and inner thigh. All you have to do is to stand with the back against the pool wall while stretching your arms out to the poolside grabbing the pool edges. Now raise both your legs and form “L” with your upper body. Then spread the legs out in a “V” shape and bring those back together.
- Back float- With this exercise, you can take off the stress of your body and can recover and relax. All you have to do is to lean back in the water and bring up the knees while stretching the arms out while floating.
- Pelvic floor exercises: This exercise is meant for the muscles of the pelvic floor support organs like as vagina, control urinary bladder, and uterus. When your baby develops during pregnancy, the enhancing stress on the pelvic floor muscles weakens those. In this situation, performing the “Kegel” exercises is helpful in strengthening the group of muscles. This thing isolates the pelvic floor muscles while trying to stop the flow of urine meanwhile. Here are the exercises that you can perform as part of the pelvic floor exercises:
- Slow holds- When your muscles become stronger, enhance the force of contracting muscles and then pull those deeper while holding the contractions for a few moments and then relax.
- Rapid contractions- Here you need to contract the muscles forcefully and fast, then drawing those up and inward and relax.
- Stair climbing and walking: Stair climbing is great for the lower body of a pregnant woman and it can strengthen the muscles. And this makes the process of delivery easier. Make sure that you climb the stairs gently and take the support of railings to climb safely. Walking is the easiest form of all types of exercises, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. In fact, walking is good throughout pregnancy to stay fit and healthy. All you need to do is to walk at a comfortable pace in a park or on a sidewalk.
Benefits of exercising in the third trimester:
Exercising in the third trimester of pregnancy offers a range of benefits to both mother and baby. Here are the details:
Benefits for mother:
- Enhanced cardiovascular function
- Reduced skeletal and muscular discomfort
- Weight gain management
- Reduced swelling of lower extremity
- Stable and enhanced mood
- Decreased risk of developing hypertension/preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
- Shorter labor
Benefits for baby:
- Enhanced tolerance of stress
- Lower body fat
- Advanced neurobehavioral maturation
So, it is evident that there are loads of benefits of exercising during the final trimester of pregnancy. But while performing exercises, never overexert yourself and always listen to your body. Remember that activities in the third-trimester should be simple and fun. Take proper care of your health, eat healthy foods, nest and take rest. Preserve your energy to provide your newborn with complete attention.