Exercising in the third trimester
Well, here’s a blog post I should have written at least three months ago! In the throws of being heavily pregnant (and I really was, nearly reaching 42 weeks) I naively thought I would have more time when the baby arrived – hah! Fast forward, baby is ten weeks old (and wonderful) and I am finally setting my mind back to that strange part of my life which feels so long ago already.
As mentioned in my previous posts on exercising in the first and second trimesters, I am not a fitness professional but hope my thoughts are useful or comforting to someone in their final stages of pregnancy who is still trying to keep their fitness going. Here’s where I ended up:
- Be empowered*: Via the powers of Instagram, I was really lucky to come across the amazing Expecting and Empowered mamas who offered me the use of their pregnancy workout guides. Personally, I need structure to get off my butt and having a week by week plan to follow which was pregnancy specific really, really helped, reassured and motivated me. I essentially spent seven months looking for this and wish I had found it sooner so excuse me whilst I give it a massive shout out as I hope other mamas find it. This sounds like such a cliché but I really did feel empowered when I was following these guides and one thing I’ve noticed during my pregnancy and since baby has arrived is there is a distinct lack of information and guidance out there for pregnant woman and new mothers (don’t even get me started on the maze you need to navigate that is advice (or lack of) about post-partum exercise). I cannot recommend these guides enough for clear, informative and appropriate workouts that recognise the importance of pelvic floor and other stabilising exercises. Also the arms get a good going over which I massively appreciate now I am pushing a pram and lugging around a baby as well as all the related paraphernalia!
- Listen to your body: well duh, of course this is sage advice for each trimester of your pregnancy (and general life!) but after that dreamy second trimester where you start to feel yourself again, it’s easy to lose sight of that and not give yourself a break when you cant bench press at 35 weeks pregnant. I felt good for a large part of my third tri until around 36 weeks when I started to pull back a few weeks before I finished work as I was exhausted again. During this time I mostly did pre-natal yoga, which let's face it, is basically just stretching.
- Reassess when you finish work: depending on your job and when you finish work, you may find you get some energy back on your maternity leave (if you have the luxury of that time before baby arrives). After an initial day or so of rest, I was pretty keen to enjoy my new found freedom and relaxed into working out using my E&E guides at home and in my own time.
- Walk it off: if by this stage in your pregnancy the thought of donning lycra and lifting weights seems ridiculous, you can always keep moving by walking. And as well as apparently helping push your body towards labour (hmm, I went nearly two weeks over and I walked A LOT...), you will also be doing an awful lot of it once baby is here so get used to it!
- Swim: of course I am going to say get that bump to a pool for the most relaxing way to keep fit in pregnancy. Swimming was all I could face the final two weeks and I am lucky enough to have an open air lido near me that was open in spring. Just me and the OAPs loving life on sunny Tuesday mornings!
- Make the most of it: appreciate this is a triggering thing to say and hindsight is a wonderful thing but this really is the last time you wil ever have to just think about yourself. And you certainly have the licence to as a heavily pregnant woman. Enjoy the calm long walks, leaving the house when you want, lie ins, chilling on the sofa etc. Once baby is here, it’s hard to remember what having that level of independence feels like!
If you are pregnant or recently had a baby, I would love to hear how you got on with exercise in your pregnancy (and beyond!).
*To be completely transparent, I was given the third trimester pregnancy guide to try for free in exchange for talking about how I found it. I have been asked by the lovely E&E ladies to include the words ‘this post is sponsored by Expecting and Empowered’, although to be clear I have not been paid for this post and my views are completely honest and my own. You can find more info on them at www.expectingandempowered.com/ and @expectingandempowered on Instagram.