Your pregnancy is progressing nicely now.  You’re seeing your Midwife more frequently, and your body is adjusting well to some pretty amazing anatomical, physiological and hormonal changes.

No doubt, you’ve had to slow things down a bit, but you’re probably fairly impressed with your fitness levels, all things considered, if you’re going to the gym and/or attending a pregnancy-related fitness or Pilates class.

Below are a couple of things to consider when exercising during your third trimester:

1. DEHYDRATION

It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, and more importantly so during your third trimester. 

Your circulation isn’t great.  Blood may pool in your lower extremities and you must make sure you’re taking frequent sips of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. 

Ok, so the downside to this, is also frequent trips to the loo, and I understand how inconvenient and time-consuming this is, but it’s important to keep your fluid intake up, particularly if you’re exercising.

2. PELVIC FLOOR

Make releasing your pelvic floor a daily routine. 

A lot of muscles are tight in the modern, pregnant person due to excessive sitting, so to give your pelvic floor a helping hand, it’s important to keep all of the muscles that insert in and out of the pelvis, a stretch out. 

These are: thighs, inner thighs, bottom, hips, outer thighs and hamstrings. 

Just adding some gentle stretching in to your day-to-day activities can really make a difference to your pelvic floor health and strength. 

Around 30% of postnatal women suffer with some form of stress incontinence, so it’s vital that you learn to not just strengthen, but lengthen your pelvic floor muscles to increase your chances of delivering your baby naturally.

3. MOVING AROUND SAFELY

Consider safe-moving techniques. 

I could write an entire post on this, really (in fact I may just do that!), but what I’m suggesting here, is that you ensure you’re not putting undue stress on your back, pelvis or abdominals when you’re moving yourself from one position to another. 

In bed for example, if you wanted to move from one side to the other, the safest way to do so would be to pop your knees together, engage your core/pelvic floor, use your arms to roll gently onto your back, and then continue to move safely onto your other side. 

You’ll notice in class, I’m quite particular about the way you step down onto the floor and back up again too.

4. FATIGUE

Some women suddenly feel very, very tired throughout our third trimester, others will get a rush of energy, which just proves that all pregnancies are different and should be treated individually. 

I’ve received a text from many a client after class saying: “Claire, I’m really sorry I missed tonight’s class.  I came home from work early and fell asleep on the sofa straight away!”, so I’m fairly used to fatigue setting in. 

The thing to bear in mind is, listening to your body at this stage is the best thing to do. 

If you feel tired, or achey or just not up to exercise, have the night off, and revisit it the next day, perhaps trying a workout out at home, a brisk walk at lunch, a swim after work, or a short gym session etc. 

You’ll feel much better after exercise, and it’s vital that you stay as active as you can for as long as you feel able.

5. ABDOMINAL SEPARATION

At this stage in pregnancy, you’re far more likely to have an abdominal separation in the six-pack muscles that run vertically down the centre of your stomach. 

It’s honestly nothing to worry about.  It’s painless, and because baby is growing and growing, these muscles become stretched and weakened. 

It can cause you to suffer with lower back pain, simply because your abdominals are in a weakened, stretched state. 

But, the thing to bear in mind is, not all women suffer with abdominal separation, and as long as you’re not lying on your back to do exercise, you’ve taken out any forward-flexion eg sit up type movements, planks are no longer part of your exercise repertoire, and you’re focusing on pelvic and core stability work now, you should be absolutely fine.

And there you have it – my top 5 tips for exercising during your third trimester.

Any questions, do ask.  I’m only too happy to help.

Pilates is a brilliant form of exercise for mums-to-be due to its focus on abdominal and pelvic floor strength.  By signing up to Bump to Babe Pregnancy Pilates, you’re committing an hour of your time, just for you and your unborn baby.

Come along and exercise at any stage of your pregnancy and give your unborn baby the BEST start in life.