Third Trimester Exercises

Third Trimester Exercises

For healthy pregnancy, easier labour and faster recovery.


Congratulations, you made it so far and you can see the final line. Now in the third trimester you should take things easier, are more relaxed and excited looking forward into arrival of new baby. There is plenty of time and you are probably buzzing with energy so it is perfect time for you to keep going with your third trimester exercises.


If you have been active and exercising until now, and your doctor /midwife said there is no red flags, you can still keep going. Of course, as your body is changing daily you will have to take some precautions and adapt some of the moves.


Rules for third trimester exercising;


  • make sure you are still good to exercise – consult with doctor and midwife
  • listen to your body- seriously your body will tell you when you should stop
  • don’t do too much, everything in moderation
  • rest a lot
  • have plenty of water
  • eat proper meal before exercises
  • snack during your workout
  • exercise immediately after bite something – orange, banana, few raisins


Big no, no;


  • do not exercise if you feel any pain or discomfort
  • skip exercises if you feel dizzy or light headed
  • do not exercise if there are any medical problems
  • stop immediately is you experience any bleeding or sudden pain
  • no exercises with severe back pain


As your baby is getting bigger and bigger every day now you may feel your belly is getting heavy and that may affect your posture. It is perfect time to perform few exercises to correct that and release that pain.


Also as you will approach your due day, it is good idea to start pelvic floor exercises just to prepare for labour and to recover faster after.


Here are your third trimester exercises with pregnancy modifications;


Three months before due day exercises;


  1. Squats and lunges – you can perform them even with weights. To control your moves and adapt to compromised balance you have to adapt both of those movements.




– Instead of walking lunges go for steady ones with a little wider stance. Keep your legs apart with one leg always steady on the ground.

  • try not to use barbell any more and instead switch to dumbbells  if something happen it is easier to drop them on the ground)
  • reduce your dumbbell weights
  • slow down – perform in slower peace, there is no rush here
  • change set ups – perform up to 15 repetitions in two or three sets with light weights
  • extend rest time, even to 90 seconds between sets




  • use wider stance – feet outside hips
  • use dumbbells instead of barbell
  • three sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • 90 seconds rest time
  • reduce range of motion – don’t go too low
  • keep steady peace


  1. Deadlift;


  • use much lighter weights
  • do them only if you don’t have back pain
  • get assistance from someone – don’t do it by yourself
  • have wider stance
  • you can reduce range of motion
  • look after your back
  • 90 second or more rest time


  1. Leg curls, leg extensions, leg press machines;


  • between two and three sets with easy weights
  • 90 seconds or longer rest time
  • if necessary reduce range of motion
  • look after your back during those exercises


  1. Chest press


  • perform only on incline!!! Do not perform this exercise on flat bench.
  • use light weights
  • exercise with assistance
  • 2 sets 15 reps
  • 90 seconds rest


  1. Dumbbell side and front raises


  • extremely light weights (optional: no weights just your body)
  • wider stance – legs outside hips
  • pay attention to your lower back during this exercise


  1. Bicep curl


  • use dumbbells


  1. Tricep


  • wider legs for triceps dips
  • reduce range
  • no triceps overhead extensions
  • easier weights
  • maximum of three sets


  1. Stretching


  • reduce range of your stretches
  • be careful on twisted moves
  • you may hold some of the positions longer but with smaller range


  1. Yoga


  • perfect at this stage – if you performed and practice Yoga moves, please do not stop now
  • reduce range for some moves
  • no twisted moves
  • modify moves so you are always with both legs on the ground
  • do not compromise your balance
  • downward dog – on knees
  • no dancer poses, aeroplane poses or anything that will involve you taking one of your legs of the floor


  1. Swimming


  • steady, easy, more for relaxing than anything else
  • no back stroke


  1. Pelvic floor exercises;


  • start performing them on daily basics from now on


  1. ABS


Yes, you can still exercise them (kind of)


  • NO lying on back positions
  • NO lower abs exercise
  • Options for you;


  • Side hip lifts


  • Side leg raises


  • Seated reverse crunches – from seated position, arms extended in front, lower your body as far as you are comfy (max half way)  maximum three sets, 12 repetitions just to engage those abs, nothing more.


  • Overhead arms lifts – in sitting position, keep legs wide apart, lean back slightly and extend arm is front of you (shoulder level).


Remaining that back positions lift arms overhead in smooth move. Perform maximum 5-8 moves and rest. Three sets.


  • leg taps in sitting – sit up, legs hip distance apart, hands wide stretched behind back supporting body, lean back


Legs bend on the floor, bend – now lift one leg to 90 degrees, then switch legs


  • Double leg tap- positions like in the previous exercise. Instead of lifting one leg, do this exercise by lifting and tapping both.


  • Double leg extensions- start position like in the previous two exercises.


Extend either one or both legs together in front of you.


  • Side plank hold. Keep one leg bend on the floor all the time. Optional extend arm overhead.


  • Cat back – on your fours


  • Opposite leg arm raises on your four. Keep your legs wider apart if necessary.


Two months before due day


You can perform all of the exercises from previous months but you should consider no weights options, just your body weight.


Your posture will be affected now by bigger belly so focus more on lover back exercises and pelvic floor exercises.


From the best combination for this month, here are top 10 third trimester exercises (two months before baby)


  1. Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises


Kegel exercises are the most important exercises after childbirth. During labour, your pelvic floor muscles are weakened by birth so you need to strengthen them again.


  • Lie down and keep legs extended with arms alongside your body. Keep your spine in a neutral position; relax your shoulders and neck.
  • Imagine that you need to stop stream of urine immediately. Squeeze as if you were trying to do that.
  • Do that for 1-2 seconds on the first day and increase it to 5-10 seconds in the following days.
  • Repeat this exercise 5-10 times during each day.


  1. Hips tilt


  • lie on the floor with your torso elevated and arms resting behind you on the floor for support (bend them at elbows and rest forearms on the floor)
  • keep legs hip distance apart or wider, bend, feet flat on the floor
  • now gently lift hips of the ground in smooth controlled move
  • repeat 12 times then have a brake for 90 seconds


  1. Side bridge


  1. Cat back stretch


  1. Side kick on your fours


  1. Child pose


  • keep your legs wider than your hips so when you are going to place your hand on the floor your belly will have a place between your legs
  • sit on your heels and pres chest down toward the floor


  1. Walking


  • Yes, that is something you may consider adding at this time. Walk in comfortable clothes, have some water and snacks.
  • Slow peace
  • Take plenty of rest


  1. Swimming and Aqua Classes


  • swim only in empty line. It’s the best if there is no one around (just to be safe and make sure you will not get kicked by accident by anyone in the water)
  • try to avoid stretching your arms to much (breast stroke will be the best at this time)


  1. Leg lifts while lying on the side


  • great for your glutes (those will come handy during and after labour)
  • rest your body on one side, chest lifted, bottom arm bend and placed on the floor


10.Standing kick backs


  • another glutes focused exercise
  • while performing it hold on to something, like chair, wall, anything
  • keep legs feet distance apart
  • kick extended leg to the back
  • three sets 12-15 repetitions



One month before due day


Now it is just about surviving to the end. This month will be the most challenging for you as you will be tired, will have your ligaments stretched and you will feel uncomfortable.


If you are not in pain and still happy to keep moving here is what you can do.


  1. Swimming


  1. Kegel exercises (pelvic floor exercises)


  1. Walking


  1. Gentle stretching exercises


  1. Hips tilts


  1. Cat back stretch


  1. Calf raises


  1. Isometric exercises

Those are just examples which you can modify and put together in different combination. You can still perform gentle, not-high impact fitness classes. Just keep moving, listen to your body and be brave. The baby will be here very soon. 😉


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