Exercises to stay healthy during your third trimester
As your pregnancy progresses, it's important to continue exercising in a safe and healthy way. Here are some tips to help you stay fit throughout your third trimester.
When you reach the third trimester of your pregnancy (weeks 29 to 40), you may be unsure what exercises you can do. However, it's still safe to exercise during your third trimester, even when your baby bump grows bigger, and there are many benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you can aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. However, listen to your body; if you're struggling and can only do 5 minutes of exercise a day, then do that. It's about the quality of your activity, rather than the quantity. 5 minutes of light exercise is much better than 30 minutes of struggling.
We're here to guide you through what exercises you can do safely during your third trimester, why you should keep up your workouts, and when to stop exercising.
Types of exercises you can try
There are many suitable exercises you can do during your third trimester. You should avoid exercise that involves lying down or standing still for too long, as these can affect your blood pressure, and avoid contact sports where you might get hit. Instead, you can try some of the following.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get a good workout during pregnancy and it’s a fast way to work on your cardio. It's an excellent exercise for beginners, so walking is a great place to start if you haven't exercised much before your pregnancy. It also doesn't strain your joints in the same way that regular running does.
Yoga and Pilates
Generally, yoga and pilates are gentle and don't put pressure on your body whilst you're in your third trimester, although they'll still make sure you're strengthening your core and pelvic floor muscles. By keeping these muscles strong, you'll have better balance, you'll feel more comfortable, and it will help you when it comes to labour.
Yoga is also an excellent exercise if you're having trouble sleeping or are dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety. It can also help reduce headaches, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and back pain.
It's recommended that you find a class suitable for pregnancy so that you're not doing too much intense exercise. Make sure you take breaks if you need, stay hydrated, and understand your limits. If you're unsure about what level is safe for you, you can ask your doctor or midwife, and they can advise you.
The water lifts pressure off your body when you swim, making it easier to move, especially when you're heavily pregnant in your third trimester. You can swim laps around the pool, or you can join a water aerobics class if you'd like to try something different. Like yoga and pilates, try and find a class that caters to pregnant people so that you're not exercising too intensely.
The benefits of exercising during your pregnancy
When you stay active during pregnancy, this benefits you and your baby. When you exercise, it can:
- Ease lower back pain
- Lessen swelling
- Help with tiredness
- Reduce the risk of pregnancy-related issues like preeclampsia and diabetes
- Improve yours and your baby's heart health
- Protect your joints
- Ease constipation
- Improve your mental wellbeing
When you exercise, you prioritise your health and make sure that your baby is growing in the best conditions possible. Although exercising during the third trimester can seem daunting, especially when you're heavily pregnant, it's worth remembering all of the benefits to it.
When should you stop exercising?
It's generally safe to exercise up until you give birth, although you should make sure you reduce the intensity of your workouts if any of the following starts to happen:
- Becoming out of breath - you should be able to talk whilst you work out
- Pain in your chest, back, or pelvis
- Very heavy heartbeat
- Severe thirst
- Clammy skin
Although exercise is great for your physical and mental health, it's essential that you prioritise your wellbeing above all. If exercise becomes difficult and it leaves you feeling worse than when you started, you can put a pause on working out until after you've given birth.
Final thoughts from Kinhub
It can be difficult to know whether it's safe to exercise during your third trimester. However, there are many different ways to keep fit during your pregnancy, and there are many benefits for both you and your baby when you get your heart rate up. As a general rule: light and gentle exercise is encouraged during all stages of pregnancy, but as soon as exercise stops feeling good, then you should stop. If you’re worried at any point, or have any issues with exercise, you can speak to your doctor or midwife for further support.