Pregnancy: Exercising during the Third Trimester

by alisia

Have you ever been punched in the stomach? If not, just do some forward flexion (ab crunches) during your third trimester of pregnancy. It is incredibly uncomfortable.  You can't breath because there just isn't enough room.

So how do you work out your abs during your third trimester? The answer is: very carefully and only a minimal amount. You want to remind your body that you do have abs, and that they should engage to support your lower back; it doesn't take a lot of work to wake them up.

I recommend spending about a minute or two every time you work out in a supported teaser (pictured above) or in a knee plank.  It is just enough ab work to help take away a lot of the lower back pain that many pregnant women suffer from during their third trimester of pregnancy. But don't worry about doing too much. As soon as you get that someone is punching you in the stomach feeling, then it is time to stop.

And here is a list of what you should avoid during your third trimester:

  • Lying on your back for more than 5 minutes at a time (or shorter if you start feeling dizzy);
  • Inner thigh work;
  • Excessive hip flexor strengthening/stretching;
  • Any exercises that have a higher risk of falling;
  • Lifting heavy weights;
  • Excessive abdominal work; and
  • Breathing so hard during aerobic exercise that you couldn't carry on a conversation.
And of course, before working out at all, make sure you talk to your doctor. No workout is worth the risk of a pre-term baby. 

Even though it sometimes feels like you can't do anything during your last trimester,  (nor do you have the ability or energy half the time) there are a lot of exercises you can, and should do.   You can work your legs, arms, back and glutes all you want.  You can walk and walk and walk and walk. And lets be honest, if you are past your due date, I am sure you will want to do a lot of walking to help get that baby out.

For some women, your pelvic floor muscles are a great thing to focus on during your third trimester. You may need all the help you can get to prevent those "dribbles" when you sneeze. But for other women who may already be tight, working the kegel muscles may not be as wise. The last thing you want is to tear more down there when you give birth because of tightness. 

Most women experience a lot of anxiety during the third trimester. Your world is about to change. Exercising is a great way to help manage that extra stress, but what is more important that anything else is to listen to your body. You will know better than anyone if you are pushing yourself too hard or not enough.

And as tough as it may be at times, remember to hang in there. Just a couple more weeks and you will be holding your beautiful baby.

Here are some videos with examples of exercises you can do during your third trimester:

Pregnancy Abs

(Do this with 3-5 lb weights...even if you are not pregnant! It's a great arm workout.)

Glutes! Pregnant or not, try this one out!
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