Fitness: Third Trimester

Readers, mamas and friends:

I have been waiting this entire pregnancy to feel like I needed to stop my workouts, change them up, or at the very least slow down. I have had to slow down a bit as my body has gained weight and the baby is pressing more on my diaphragm. I can’t bounce on account of pelvic pain and any kind of cardio gets me breathing hard. But I have still been able to do low-impact workouts, walk frequently, rock climb and lift light weights.

Everyone else I know thinks I’ve lost it and I get a lot of concerning questions, especially surrounding rock-climbing this late in pregnancy. I assure you, my midwife was a-okay with it. We know that exercise in pregnancy is healthy for mama AND baby, with a few restrictions of course. Up until this week I was not allowed to be upside down. And I can’t be in a hot yoga studio. Other than that, anything I was doing before pregnancy is fair game. So I kept at it. For 35 weeks.

Ultimately, you need to discuss activity recommendations with your provider. There ARE limiting factors medically speaking, but if you are having a healthy pregnancy, they are fairly minimal.

For example, my midwife did recommend that I stop all rock-climbing and lifting weights. But not for the reasons you would think. It is completely safe as long as I listen to my body. These activities, however, create a lot of muscle tension. When baby comes, we want the opposite of tension. We want our bodies and muscles to relax, promoting an easier delivery. Rock climbing especially, uses the inner thigh muscles quite a bit. In order for the pelvic floor to relax and push out a baby we want these muscles relaxed.

Alas, I have changed my approach to fitness.

  • I am doing more yoga, attempting at least 30 minutes a day. I used to do yoga 3 times a week and this pregnancy, I have done it maybe once each week. Boy, do I need it. My muscles are constantly tense.
  • I have also added water aerobics to my regimen. Today was my first class and it was actually quite a bit more difficult than I had expected! Using weights with the resistance of water is a real thing. I might even be sore tomorrow! Plus, it felt great to get baby’s weight off of my back for an hour.
  • I am also still incorporating some light cardio with walking and the elliptical.

That is it! I am under strict recommendations to take it easy and let my body and baby relax in preparation for birth. Exercise is still recommended, but we don’t need to get crazy and that is something I have really had to fight with. I constantly feel like I should be able to do more than I am able and have a hard time listening to my body when it tells me to slow down. A couple of months ago I finally accepted that I am pregnant, carrying 30 extra pounds and pumping 50% more blood volume. Of course I am tired. Of course I can’t do Beachbody Insanity. Of course I can’t run. This is all temporary and I will get back to my regularly scheduled fitness activities.

But for now, I am enjoying this time, learning to listen to my body and disregarding any expectations and pressures of what should be. 

Everyone has a different pregnancy experience. Every baby is different. Do what YOU can, not what someone else is doing. You’re in charge, mama!

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