3 Reasons to Exercise in your Third Trimester

1. No one says, “I wish I didn’t exercise in my Third Trimester”

On the contrary.  Women who have continued exercising tell me that they are grateful that they didn’t stop.  They report having less aches and pains, less stress, better sleep and more energy. Women who have chosen not to exercise in their third trimester or who have had to stop exercising for medical reasons, tell me that being inactive wreaked havoc on their bodies. They report feeling sore, stiff and uncomfortable. They have also told me that their mental health suffered significantly. 

So unless there is a medical reason why you need to stop exercising in your third trimester, we recommend you keep on moving.  Be sure to review the national guidelines for exercise during pregnancy

2. It is recommended by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC)

“Women and their care providers should consider the risks of NOT participating in exercise activities during pregnancy, including loss of muscular and cardiovascular fitness, excessive maternal weight gain, higher risk of gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hypertension, development of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, a higher incidence of physical complaints such as dyspnea or lower back pain, and poor psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy.”  (Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, 2003)

“All women without contraindications should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises as part of a healthy lifestyle during their pregnancy.” (Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, 2003)

3. Stress Relief

Common third trimester stressors include training your replacement at work; preparing your older child for a younger sibling; stretching your budget as your family grows; and deciding how to share (or not share) parental leave.  You might be feeling stressed by the many decisions you need to make.  From when to begin your maternity leave to where you want to give birth. Then there are the general fears of the unknowns: labour, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.  While the third trimester is an exciting time, it is also an overwhelming time and it can be very taxing on our mind, body and spirit.

Guess what? We have an app for that: Exercise.  Regular exercise is key to coping with life’s stressors during this special time. 

Whether you are continuing an active lifestyle or easing into one, be sure to review the national guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. 

Melanie Osmack is the founder of Fit 4 Two Pre and Postnatal Fitness as well as the Pregnancy & Exercise Awareness Movement.  She teaches classes in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.