From keeping your weight gain in check to warding off serious conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, the benefits of exercise throughout your pregnancy are many. While the first five to six months presented some challenges to exercising, they typically don’t compare to the final three months when your belly really balloons.
To help you find ways to exercise during your more awkward third trimester, Dr. Jack Tubbs and the team of obstetric specialists here at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, want to share a few tips.
Why exercise is important
Before we dive into a few ways to exercise with a growing belly, we want to take a moment to underscore the importance of exercising throughout your pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has weighed in on the matter and recommends that healthy pregnant women should stick to the same 150 minutes per week that’s recommended for all adults. This means 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as running or walking, which you can break up into five, 30-minute sessions during the week.
This is a minimal recommendation and one that helps to:
- Keep your weight gain in check
- Lower your blood pressure, which can help prevent gestational hypertension and preeclampsia
- Avoid gestational diabetes
- Reduce your risks for depression
- Decrease the chances of a Cesarean delivery
- Improve postpartum recovery
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that, “Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risks and have been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.”
Modifying your exercise
When you enter your third trimester, your fetus grows quickly and, before you know it, you’re dealing with a rather large belly in front.
This addition to your frame can not only throw your balance off, but make it very difficult to continue practices that require a fair amount of bending.
So, in your third trimester, you’ll need to make a few modifications to your exercise regimen. We recommend:
Walking and hiking
Walking or hiking in the beautiful Colorado landscape is a great way to get some moderate aerobic exercise. Since you may not be as balanced, we recommend that you outfit yourself with a walking stick or trekking pole, especially on uneven terrain.
As important, make sure you’ve got sneakers or boots that offer full support for your feet and that fit snugly around your feet.
If walking is causing back problems, we recommend swimming. Your joints will love the weightlessness of the water, even though they’ll still be working as you swim.
Getting on a road bike can be a bit uncomfortable in your third trimester, but you can still pedal around on a cruising bike around your neighborhood. Bikes with handlebars that keep you more upright are better. If you’re nervous about cycling around outdoors, you can try a stationary bike.
Pilates and yoga
Many practitioners and teachers of pilates and yoga understand the limitations of pregnancy and have designed classes specifically for pregnant women. We highly recommend these types of classes, as they can strengthen your core muscles as well as your pelvic floor. If you can’t find a class for pregnant women near you, you can search for an online class.
While these are specific exercises, getting outside to do some gardening or giving the house a good spring clean counts as exercise, too.
If you’d like a more customized approach to exercising in your third trimester, we can help create a plan that works for your needs and goals. To get started, please contact our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to schedule an appointment.