Exercises for easier labor and faster recovery

Exercises for easier labor and faster recovery


Exercise has become important part of many women’s lives. Even though fitness and activity play so important role, exercising during pregnancy is still not that popular.



Every pregnant woman should be aware that because of physical and hormonal changes happening to their bodies they should be careful and always get physician approval before starting.

Extra brakes between exercises along with water intake and appropriate clothing is a must. Every pregnant woman should also modify exercises depending on her condition, well-being and progress of the pregnancy.

Third trimester is special when it comes to physical activities. Growing belly creates higher risk of falling, loosing balance or abdominal trauma. All exercises should be at this stage grounded (on a floor) with no high impact, with balance control and no extra pressure put on belly.

Third trimester is a time when you are preparing for the labor. In this period it’s good to prepare yourself for that big day as easy labor with no complication is every woman’s dream. However sometimes things are not going that smooth.

In the last trimester of pregnancy baby is usually lining head down and getting ready for coming to this word. You should get ready too.

It is not a secret that staying fit throughout the whole pregnancy will speed up the labor. Difference may be colossal and instead of days it may take you only hours.

I am a perfect example of that. I have been active before and during all three of my pregnancies. I did fitness classes and gym session almost daily till due day. The result was all free births with no complications in less than 2 hours each. Recovery time was also extremely fast with no post pregnancy issues and no diastasis recti.

Recommended exercises

1.Pelvic floor exercises – they are preparing you for labor and faster healing after birth. You can perform those anywhere as often as you wish in any position.

Imagine you are trying to stop yourself passing urine. You will feel like pulling up and around your front and back passages. Breathe thou it and do not pull your belly in. Hold for maximum 10 seconds. Relax and repeat again.

2. Pelvic tilt – these are brilliant few days before due day and especially in early stages of labor. Pick any position that feels comfortable for you: sitting, on your fours, over exercise ball.

  • If you are on your fours keep hand shoulder-width apart and legs hip distance apart. Arms straight.
  • Arch your back up to the sealing so your tail bone is tucked underneath you
  • Next arch opposite way so your tail bone is sticking out. Repeat few times

3. Squatting- the will increase glutes strength which may reduce lower back pain and hip pain. Squats also will prepare you for pushing. It’s beneficial for baby too as squat can help your little one descend deeper into your pelvis. It’s also great birthing position.

Squat position is great for labor. It opens your pelvis wider so labor is easier and faster. Regular squatting will give you strong legs so you can hold this position for longer.

–     Stand behind something; chair, table, kitchen counter…

  • Legs slightly wider than your hips, long spine, chest forward, toes pointing onwards.
  • Lower down as if you are trying to sit on the chair. While doing that most of your weight will go to the heels. Keep your back straight.
  • Go as low as you can and then go back to start position
  • Repeat 10-15 times in steady pace
  • You can step your legs wider if that’s any easier for you

 4. Gym ball exercises

  • Sit on the ball, long spine, relaxed shoulders, legs wide to keep balance.
  • Using your legs shift your weight from left to right butt chick
  • Then roll forward and back
  • You can circle left and right

5. Walking

 6. Wall planks

 7. Wall push-ups

What to be careful about

  1. Changes to center of gravity – growing breasts, uterus, growing baby, increased lumbar lordosis result in changing pregnant women’s center of gravity and affects her balance. It’s a new situation and hard to control. Simply we are no used to it. As a result, in third trimester, mom’s to be should avoid weighted exercises and focus on body weighted ones. High impact exercises should be eliminated.
  2. Elasticity and flexibility– high levels of relaxin (hormone) in third trimester results in softer ligaments and joins. That increases risks of injury. Some of yoga positions should be avoided.
  3. Higher body temperature – Future moms’ metabolism is at higher level resulting in higher body temperature. Pregnant women are overheating fast so slower paced exercises are more recommended here. Also plenty of water and more regular brakes.
  4. Higher blood pressure – most pregnant women have higher blood pressure during pregnancy. Intensity of exercises should be closely monitored. As mentioned before plenty of water, more brakes and lower intensity exercises are recommended.
  5. Higher energy need– during third trimester pregnant woman needs more energy as baby is grooving at fastest rate right now. Extra calories intake should be included especially during training days. It is highly recommended for exercising mom to be to take small snacks with her just in case she will need it.


  1. Rapture of membranes

2. Previous miscarriages

3. Pre-term labour history

4. Wrong cervix placement

5. Any bleeding

6. Chronic hypertension

7. Low placenta

8. Thyroid function abnormalities

9. Cardiac disease

10. Vascular disease

11. Pulmonary disease

Exercise recommendations for third trimester

  1. Exercise early in the morning or late when it’s still colder
  2. Indoor exercises on steady surface (stationary bike)
  3. Lower intensity, duration and frequency of exercises
  4. Plenty of water, snacks and more rest times
  5. Low intensity to avoid joint pain and injuries
  6. No lying on back positions
  7. No isometric exercises increasing risk of vasalva maneuver
  8. No weighted exercises
  9. No challenging position that might compromise balance
  10. No exercises with large range of motion
  11. No exercises with sudden changes to body position
  12. No contact sports; boxing, wrestling, football, soccer, hockey
  13. Be careful with; skating, dancing, gymnastics, yoga, pilates, skiing, weight lifting.


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