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Guide posted by Coachbronze Lorraine S in Pregnancy and Exercise - Pregnant Fitness

Pregnancy Exercise: Third Trimester

Weeks 28-42

The last leg of your pregnancy, hooray and at 28 weeks you officially have a baby! Up until now medical professionals refer to it as a foetus.

This is the trimester where your exercise focus must be to prepare your body and mind for labour, birth and baby.

During this trimester it is important that you stop exercise immediately if:-

  • There is any vaginal bleeding- seek your primary health carer’s advice immediately
  • Membranes rupture (your waters break)
  •  There is evidence that labour has either started or may start soon weeks ahead of schedule   (before 36 weeks).

Mid to late pregnancy are times of constant changes for the mum and baby, nothing stays the same so you must adapt your exercise program to accommodate these changes.

During this trimester you can expect:-

  • Periods of extreme tiredness
  • To feel twingesin the hips and legs as baby’s descends deeper in to the pelvis
  • Breathing may be more difficult if baby is positioned high in your uterus - there is less room for baby to grow and move
  • Emotional preparation may be very tough especially if it’s your first pregnancy

Exercise

There are many benefits of exercising up to ‘term’, if you feel good and are not too tired then there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue to exercise up to the day of your birth!

Benefits of Exercising; Third trimester:

  • Can reduce labour time by up to 2 hours
  • Reduces the stress on your baby during labour- your baby has adapted to thegood stress of  exercise so he/she is less stressed during labour
  • Reduces the need for medical intervention by 30%
  • Reduces the chance of a ‘C’ section by 30%
  • Prepares you physically and mentally for labour
  • Increases how quickly you recover post birth
  • Exercise pre and post pregnancy has also been shown to reduce post natal depression

The above percentages were reported from internationally recognised maternal exercise researcher and obstetrician James F.Clapp, III M.D

Exercise Program

I would suggest you have at least 2 days off during this trimester and aim to do 2-3 specific pregnancy strength sessions and 2 cardio sessions such as walking or swimming for approx. 35-40 minutes each week.Yoga is also very beneficial for you if have access to a pregnancy class.

I often get asked by women which training session at this stage in a pregnancy is more important- Strength V’s Cardio?

You should make sure that a strength program is a priority because at this stage in your pregnancy you will also get a cardiovascular benefit from your training.Due to the specific nature of strength exercises you are preparing your body much more efficiently to cope with the demands of labour than just walking the block and remember this, you are an athlete in training and specificity is the key!

Must do Exercise

Squats

There couldn’t be a better suited exercise to prepare you for pregnancy and labour.

Squats will:-

Labour Preparation

If you Squat regularly then you have the choice of better suited labour and birthing positions. If you can hold the more physically demanding positions over a long period then you will definitely reduce the time of your labour as gravity will assist in both labour and pushing phases!

If you can give birth in a squat or similar position your pelvis opening is much wider (by approx. 15%) so there is more room for baby’s head to come out.

When you squat makes sure you have good technique. I teach specific squats for labour using a suspension trainer or bar. If your baby is breech posterior or transverse do no perform deep squats (below 90 degrees) until baby is in optimal presentation; head down and anterior. Deep squats encourage baby to move deeper in to your pelvis so you don’t want to do this exercise if it’s your baby’s bottom descending!

How to Squat During Pregnancy:http://youtu.be/VBaciLLbfPE

Enjoy Exercising during each trimester and remember: Healthy mums have Healthy babies!

Please comment with any questions you may have about exercising during your pregnancy.

Lorraine Scapens is the founder of http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz she has more than 20 years training pre and post natal clients. Pre and Post Pregnancy Exercise and Health Programs are available to purchase on the website.Follow on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pregnancyexerciseand Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mummytrainer/

If you feel any pain or discomfort whilst exercising, stop. If pain continues consult you L.M.C or G.P. The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine Scapens: She is not able to provide you with medical advice, information is used as guide. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training. 

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Responses (2)

Thanks for the information! I am 33 weeks and need to keep pushing forward with my exercise program. 

Mikhail W responded Comment

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Your welcome, make sure you are doing squats Mikhail! :-)

Lorraine S responded Comment

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