The third trimester has arrived. You're in the home stretch.
You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You're peeing every ten
minutes, you have one pair of comfortable pants and fatigue has set
back in, likely because you can't sleep in positions you like and when
you do get comfortable you have to get up to pee again. This all in
addition to everything else in your life. Working out? What? Why would
you want to do something crazy like that? To keep you flexible, for
one. Exercise keeps your blood pressure down, your blood glucose levels
in a healthy range and open up your pelvis so your labor is easier.
You won't be able to do all the things you did before you got pregnant, but with a few adaptations to routine, there are plenty of activities you can do, even as you're waddling around wearing faded, threadbare sweatpants and flipflops because that's all you can fit into. Here are three pregnancy-friendly workouts you can do well into your third trimester.
Increased blood flow, changes to blood pressure and of course your
belly will all add up to an inability to perform a standard yoga
routine. A good instructor, however, will know how to accommodate you
and your growing body, ideally in a class devoted solely to pregnant
women. If the studio offers prenatal yoga classes - and many do
- you'll be able to network with other expectant mothers, building your
support network one downward dog at a time.
In the last 12 weeks of your pregnancy, you'll have trouble rolling
over in your sleep, getting out of your office chair and bending over
to pick up that pen you dropped. In the pool, on the other hand, you'll
be weightless. You'll be able to breathe, to move, to stretch. The
water will support your hips and knees. The motion and support can help
with positioning, if your baby has decided face-up or turned sideways
is more fun than head-down and facing your back.
What better way to celebrate this particular expression of womanhood
than to don a long flowing skirt, strap on some jangly bell bracelets
and move your hips to high-energy Middle Eastern music? Stretch your
tendons, open your pelvis, learn movements that can help relieve the
pain of contractions in early labor and make friends along the way.
Many community colleges and community centers offer bellydancing on a
drop-in basis, often with the first class offered for free. And while
many end the class term with a performance, if you have stage fright or
don't have the time, performing usually isn't mandatory.
Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before beginning or changing your exercise routine. While working out, drink plenty of water - generally a minimum of 16 oz. for every 30 minutes of exertion - eat a small protein-based snack afterward, and stop if you feel pain, dizziness or discomfort. The goal is to keep your energy level up, help you sleep, and tone and stretch your muscles, not exhaust or injure you.