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Fitness for the 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 4/29/2009

Keeping fit during pregnancy is never easy, but in the 3rd trimester, it can be a real challenge. A good pregnancy workout in the third trimester is one that can be adapted to your energy level. Walking is a great 3rd trimester exercise.

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    Slowing It Down a Bit

    The 3rd trimester of pregnancy is a time to take it a little easier with exercise. That doesn't mean you have to stop. It just means that the end of pregnancy is physically challenging, and just getting off the couch can sometimes feel like a workout. There are some things to remember when exercising during the 3rd trimester, but if you've been exercising throughout your pregnancy, and it's been a healthy one, you should be able to keep going right up until the end.

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    3rd Trimester Exercise Tips

    Don't exercise on your back. Don't lie on your back for more than a few seconds. You can compress blood vessels that could cut interfere with circulation. Look for alternatives to these types of exercises that are usually done while lying on the back.

    Be gentle on your joints. During the last months of pregnancy, your joints become looser in their sockets, and more flexible. They are also more prone to injury. For this reason, be very mindful of how far you bend your knees and other joints during exercise.

    Don't overdo it. There is no reason to go overboard at this stage in the game. Exercise at a comfortable level in which you can talk to someone standing beside you. If you notice yourself working too hard, slow it down to a moderate pace.

    Stay out of the heat! Don't exercise outside on hot summer afternoons. You could become dangerously overheated, which is harmful to you and your baby. Make sure to exercise in the mornings or late evenings on very warm days.

    Some activities are no-no's. Stay away from sports that could cause trauma or harm to your baby. Your balance is not the best right now, so stay away from activities that could lead to a fall, like skating, or skiing. It's unsafe to participate in sports like basketball, soccer, hockey, diving, gymnastics or racket sports. Any contact sport or activity that could cause instability that might lead to a fall is considered unsafe during pregnancy.

    Don't try to increase your fitness level now. This is definitely not the time to increase the intensity of your workout. Just go for maintenance right now. You risk stressing your heart and increasing your blood pressure to abnormally high levels at this stage.

    Try shorter spurts of exercise. If you're too tired to exercise for 30 minutes at a time, it's perfectly fine to break it down into two or three 10 minute sessions.

    Drink plenty of water. It's very important to keep yourself well-hydrated during the third trimester of pregnancy. Drink water before, during and after any form of exercise. Watch for signs of dehydration. If you become very thirsty, hot and flushed, and develop a headache, you could be dehydrated. Call your doctor is symptoms don't subside quickly after drinking fluids.

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    A Perfect Pregnancy Workout

    Walking is one great pregnancy workout. You don't need any equipment other than comfortable, breathable clothes and a good pair of walking shoes. The best thing about walking is that you can do as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. Walking will tone your muscles and improve your cardiovascular health. Avoid walking in the snow or ice and be careful of steep hills to minimize the risk of a fall. Otherwise, walk as much as you like at a moderate pace. It's a great way to relieve stress. Go for 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break up your workout into 3, 10 minute sessions if you're too tired to walk a full 30 minutes at once.

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    Resources

    1. Babycenter: www.babycenter.com

    2. BabyFit: www.babyfit.com