No matter what trimester you are in in your pregnancy, stretching can always be done. This is something that can be done moderately to help increase blood flow, increase energy and breathing, and improve overall mood.
When you reach the your third trimester you are finally in the last stages of your pregnancy and for some of you it may feel as if the process has flown by, and many of you may feel as if you are absolutely ready for your baby to come out and play. Wherever you are mentally, these four stretches I have selected will help you with delivery, birth, and recovery afterwards.
These movements are even considered safe if you are a high risk pregnancy or instructed on bed rest. (Be sure to consult with your physician first, but likely you will have clearance to practice these stretches.) Speaking of bed rest, there have been studies shown from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland that although bed rest can provide benefits, it can also have some overlooked side effects such as muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning, potential bone loss, and even depression. If you are prescribed bed rest, listen to your doctor, but prepare yourself for post birth. Once you are cleared for exercise, you can line yourself up with a post natal personal trainer to help deal with muscle weakness and fatigue. In addition you may consider lining up postpartum support such as help with baby care, household chores and meals are often needed. Accept the help.
In the meantime, the movements selected below will strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles. It is especially important at this phase of your pregnancy to keep your pelvis, spine and hips mobile. This will also aid in relieving discomfort and increase preparations for your labor.
STRETCHES for THIRD TRIMESTER
1. Upper Back Cross Legged Side Twist – Seated on the ground, begin by crossing your ankles in the front of your body. Breathe in and raise the chest and upper back while gently adding a simultaneous twist. Place the opposite hand on the knee giving support and a little more twist motion. Exhale and return to the start position. Repeat on the other side. Practice this stretch according to your breath alternating sides for 10 reps on each side.
2. Hip and Pelvis Opener – Straddle Stretch – Begin in a wide but comfortable straddle stretch. Take a breath in and lift the arms above the head. Repeat this a few times before going into the stretch.
3. Butterfly Pose – Sitting cross-legged, slide the soles of your feet together. If you feel your lower back rounding, sit on the edge of a blanket. Press your feet together, tuck your tailbone under and let your knees drop open. Cup your hands around your feet; don’t pull. Press your feet together and continue to let your knees fall open; lean slightly forward to increase the stretch. Hold for 5–8 complete breaths.
4. Seated side Stretch on Fit Ball – This is a wonderful opening stretch that increases the blood flow in the body. Begin sitting on the ball with the spine straight and the feet wider that hip width. On an inhale place the left hand on the ball. Extend the right arm above the head reaching and stretching over to the right. On the exhale, lower the arm slowly back to the start position. Continue alternating sides letting your breathe lead the movement. Repeat for 8-10 breaths (stretches) on each side.
These stretches should be pleasurable to practice and leave you feeling lengthened and strengthened afterward. This routine can be performed on a daily basis when you wake up in the morning, before bed in the evening, or for an afternoon pick me up. I’m wishing you well on the rest of your pregnancy and a smooth healthy delivery.
For more training and exercise routines that you can do post natal, check out my fitness and inspiration book, “Fast and Fierce Fitness Made Fabulously FUN!” This is a twelve week program, complete with exercise descriptions, photos of each movement, motivational guidelines, tracking system, progressions for each level of fitness, weekly upgrades on fitness programs, and most of all, FUN creative workouts that leave you more energized, looking great, and feeling fantastic!!! Not only has this program helped my clients lose weight and strengthen their body, but it was the system I used to lose 55 pounds of my baby weight! It’s perfect because I could do it at home while the baby was sleeping or playing. Be sure to check it out here!!
**If you are looking for more healthy nutrition options or you would like to take part in more client based online training with Skype, for pre or post natal, or you can click here for more details. I have the perfect nutrition program to meet your specific needs and all programs are customized with your goals in mind.
I would be HONORED if you would consider doing any/all just ’cause you’re so darn fabulously sweet 🙂