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3 Ways to Stay Active during the Third Trimester


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.

1. Yoga

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.

2. Swimming

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.

3. Bellydancing

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.

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