There is absolutely no reason why you can’t exercise throughout your whole pregnancy; it just requires some adjustments for each stage to help you to exercise safely. Staying fit through your pregnancy will not only help you through labour, but also with your post natal recovery. And it’s not only the physical benefits but also the mental positives - pregnancy can be a stressful and exhausting time for many women and exercise can be a way to mentally escape and reset.
A few key factors to take into consideration:
- Each woman and each pregnancy is different so there are no generic rules but rather individual treatments for each mum to be.
- The pre pregnancy fitness of each woman will affect how you exercise. An athlete will be able to handle more than your average person because their body is conditioned to do so.
- Always get the OK from your obstetrician, GP and/or women’s health physiotherapist before beginning a new exercise regime. Certain conditions such as pre eclampsia, hypertension, pelvic pain, back pain, etc. will affect your exercise routine and limit what you can do.
- Things can change very quickly in pregnancy. You may not feel comfortable doing something one week that you could do the week before. Stay connected with yourself and listen to how you are feeling and pull back as needed.
- We highly recommend seeing a specialist women’s health physiotherapist, who can check your activations and strength (this really needs to be done with an internal examination, not just an ultrasound) and then create a personalized pre and post natal plan to suit your individual needs. They should also assess your recovery and let you know when you should return to exercise and to what capacity.
Heading into your third trimester, the physical toll of pregnancy can affect the way you approach exercise. Diastasis recti (abdominal separation), increased downward pelvic floor pressure, weight gain and an anterior shift in weight distribution will all impact the type of exercises you do.
Here is a simple workout that can be done at home or outside to keep you going through your third trimester. It covers the upper body (both chest and back), core, lower body (glutes, quads and hamstrings), has some corrective exercise options for typical pregnancy problems (such as rounded shoulders and quad dominance due to the anterior weight shirt), while still being low impact and gentle on your core and pelvic floor.
A few important things to remember, in order to protect your core and pelvic floor while exercising:
- Make sure you don’t hold your breath! Often we hold our breathe while exerting ourselves without even realizing it - this leads to intra abdominal pressure, which puts added pressure on an already weakened and fatigued pelvic floor, as well as through any abdominal separation.
- Think about your core activation. Even at this late stage of your pregnancy, you can still activate your core by gentling pulling your belly button towards your spine. Think of it as you, hugging your baby!
- Pelvic floor lift - queue yourself through the workout to gently lift the pelvic floor. Not only will it provide added support, but also act as a strengthening exercise for this very important area!
Alright.. Let’s hop to it!
THIRD TRIMESTER WORKOUT
- Cat/Cow - releasing and mobilising your back which often becomes tight and sore during pregnancy
- Bird Dog - don’t forget your core activation and pelvic alignment. Don’t over extend!
- Glute bridge - keep pelvis aligned and glutes activated
- Runners arms - keep core activated to prevent too much trunk rotation
- 4pt push up - 12 reps
- Reverse tabletop - 30 sec hold
- Weighted cobra holds - 2-3 secs each x 12 reps. If no dumbbells, 2 full water bottles
- Knee repeaters - 20 reps each side
- Wall sit - 30 sec hold. Progression - add alternating heel raise
Woohooo! 🎉 ...and we're done! 🎉
Hi-Five MAMI! Time for a healthy treat! 🍉🍌🍊
(More Recipes on MOVEMAMI Blog - like High in Folic Acid Recipes *wink wink)
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