If you’ve never been pregnant before, it can be hard to imagine how you’ll feel in the 3rd trimester. It can be even harder to imagine how that big belly will affect your workouts. Surprisingly, most workouts we do at The Lotus Method with our 3rd trimester and full term clients aren’t that different than any others. However, there are some considerations we make when designing programs for women as they approach their due date. Read on to learn our top five tips to keep your end-of-pregnancy workout challenging but comfortable.
The Flow: Exercise Order and Equipment
Before you begin a workout, consider your equipment needs and the position each exercise puts you in. During your non-pregnant life, doing glute bridges back-to-back with squats is a great idea for a lower body circuit. However, if you’re 39 weeks pregnant, all you’ll remember about this workout is how many times you had to get up and down off the floor. Cluster and group exercises with similar equipment and positions to make a more efficient circuit. For example, combine Swiss Ball Marching and Seated Rows for a killer back and core circuit.
Lighten the Weights
Pregnant women are already considered “under load” particularly with regard to the tissues of the pelvic floor. Additional weight added to the body should be relative to the ability of the woman. Too heavy for one woman may be too light for another. But in the third trimester, you should aim to use weights about 60-75% your maximum ability. External load (the weight you lift) added to your workout should be strategic and justified. We like to save the big kettlebells for exercises like Deadlifts and Farmer’s Carries since these types of lifting and carrying movements are ones we’re all required to do often in our daily lives
Remember you’re Safe
Every couple of months, the internet loses its collective mind over an image of a pregnant woman lifting weights. Every exercise is risk vs. reward, but also according to the individual capacity of the woman. The pregnant woman you saw deadlifting may be lifting more than you could ever dream of, but that weight may be only a fraction of her capacity. There’s no one good or bad weight for all pregnant women. It’s relative. Strength training is safe and encouraged through all stages of pregnancy (as long as you feel up to it!
Modify Exercises with Support
TRX straps, boxes and physio balls are your friend in the third trimester. Exercises like lunges and single leg squats that may have been impossible for a full term woman become possible again with some assistance. Don’t make things unnecessarily difficult! Upper body focused exercises can be done seated. You deserve to be comfortable!
Don’t forget Stability!
A lot of prenatal fitness advice lists will include the directive to “never do anything that challenges balance.” We disagree! With your overall weight and center of mass constantly changing during pregnancy and again postpartum, the third trimester is a great time to work on your balance. In our thousands and thousands of sessions, no one has ever taken a fall on our watch! Balance work is great for the brain and it’s great for the core. Doing upper body exercises like rows in the kneeling position can be enough to challenge your balance. Or you can get creative with changes of directions like this lunge-turn combo with a stability ball.